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Russophobia as the new US politically-correct anti-Semitism

It would be wrong to say that Blacks or Jews are “genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor” But you can make similar claims about Russians – no problems. Sociopathic Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed)  is the leitmotiv of US foreign policy toward Russia and is dictated by "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine: nothing personal only business.

 

Who Rules America > Neoconservatism >
News American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Recommended Links British roots of US Rusoophobia Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine Cold War II Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate
NeoMcCartyism NSC -- a sinister organization that controls the President and ensure militarization of the USA foreign policy Demonization of Putin Ukraine-gate as Russiagate 2.0 Perfidious Albion Anti-Russian hysteria in connection with DNC leak and emailgate Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism False flag poisonings Skripal poisoning Litvinenko poisoning Russia fight for multipolarity History of American False Flag Operations DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin
Magnitsky case Nulandgate The Rape of Russia Miraculous metamorphosis of Russian crooks on crossing Western border Peak Cheap Energy and Temporary Oil Price Slump Putin-did-it fiasco Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
USA-Russia Gas War British poisoning false flags MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Great Plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR Obama: a yet another Neocon Professor Steven Cohen Putin stands up to US and G8 warmongers on Syria
Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Post-Russiagate remorse -- Russiagate as the second Iraq WDM fiasco Diplomacy by deception Net hamsters
Pussi Riot Provocation Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Khodorkovsky case Boris Berezovsky Internet research agency story as fiasco of Russiagate Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition Mueller invokes ghosts of GRU operatives to help his and Brennan case
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment America and the Imperial Project Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Neoliberal Compradors Navalny's Saga Nemtsov assassination
Color revolutions The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee Russian Color Revolution of 2012 From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss The Real War on Reality Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine
Most important anti-Russian propaganda campaigns Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie America and the Imperial Project "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Economics of Peak Energy The Deep State Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Russian foreign policy Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Brain Drain American Exceptionalism Russophobic quotes from famous Russian Liberasts Humor Soft propaganda


Introduction

The current US policy of simultaneously antagonizing both China and Russia
 will likely go down as one of the 21st century's more significant strategic miscalculations.
Assuming of course that it is a part of some strategy and not just bumbling incompetence.
Is Russia Being Driven Into the Arms of China

This page is written in hope to help Russian language students to understand the country they are studying despite the level of brainwashing typical for MSM in the West. My own views on the problem were  influenced by Professor  Stephen F. Cohen  whom I really admire and follow.

Russophobia is not actually only about Russia and not only a modern politically correct version of anti-Semitism practiced by the USA neoliberal elite. It is also form of social control of US population and suppression of dissent, which can be frames as "Russian agents" in best  McCarthyism traditions (NeoMcCartyism ).

Its essence is scapegoating of the particular nations/ethnicity and as such it is very similar, almost identical in sprit to anti-Semitism (I just replaced terms in Wikipedia definition of Antisemitism ):

Russophobia is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Russians A person who holds such positions is called an Russophobe. Russophobia is generally considered to be a form of racism. It has also been characterized as a political ideology which serves as an organizing principle and unites disparate groups which are opposed to liberalism.

Russophobia may be manifested in many ways, ranging from expressions of hatred of or discrimination against individual Russians...

Here is another  "adapted" definition (from The UK s Labour Party and Its Anti-Semitism Crisis)

The definition states:

"Russophobia is a certain perception of Russians, which may be expressed as hatred toward Russians. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of  Russophobia are directed toward Russian or non-Russian individuals and/or their property, toward Russian community institutions and religious facilities."

The uncontroversial "illustrations" of  Russophobia:

Scapegoating is an important part of Propaganda machine, especially war propaganda.  Brainwashing people this way artificially (and temporary) increases social cohesion (as any enemy would) and was evoked as a defensive tool when the neoliberal elite experienced the loss of legitimacy as happened in 2016.

The loss of legitimacy of neoliberal elite which  resulted in political fiasco of the establishments candidate -- Hillary Clinton -- is  why McCarthyism was dusted off and launched into mainstream with all major neoliberal MSM promoting it with the level of coordination that might cause some envy of stalwarts of Bolsheviks press.

Overextending this trick has negative consequences as Soviet Politburo discovered in 70th. It's like boy who cried wolf: people just stop trust neoliberal media and  this process already started in 2019 with Rachel MadCow being one  of the first victim: she lost half a million viewers (may be temporary, as she is a talented demagogue, but still).

The current crisis of neoliberalism  and discreditation of neoliberal ideology (2008  and then defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 are two stages of the same process) created conditions in which reinventing "Red Scare" again became important, as a tool of controlling US (and in general, Western) population and crushing the dissent.

It is also important to understand that Russophobia in many Western countries and first of all in the USA, is an official policy. Much like in Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed) was during certain period official policy in Rome.  USA elite inherited it from British elite. In this sense the current US neoliberal empire can be called the Western British Empire (the term which creates several interesting historical analogies, including its possible length of existence  ;-)

American neoliberal elite like the British elite before now badly need an enemy to unite nation as well as a smoke screen that hides their own corruption. Russophobia definitely helps to suppress internal discontent caused by growing inequality, unemployment, shrinking of the middle class and justifies the conversion of the country into National Security State after Islamic threat became less potent.   Another goal is to prevent  the alliance of Germany and Russia -- which  was the goal of British foreign policy for two centuries.

The mass production of faux news demonizing Russians invokes depictions of Orwell's nefarious Eurasians from whom the populace needed Big Brother for protection. Reincarnation of Ministry of Truth by Barack Obama is just another stage of the same process -- now like Soviet Politburo, the US government is afraid that the US people will be informed about the real events in the world.  And that like BBC and Voice of America in the past were used by Soviet population, at least some segments of US population started using RT the same way -- to understand where MSM lie to them.  Like with Voice Amercan int he past, it is not necessary to buy Russian propaganda to see where neoliberal MSM completely distort the world event and hide important  information. For those purposes RT can serve perfectly well.

Russophobia as Freudian projection of the behaviour of the  US neoliberal elite and the US intelligence services

In a similar vain, in the current international situation, I would also consider Russophobia to be some kind of Freudian projection, a politically correct way of replacing  anti-Semitism. Kind of subconscious substitution of Jews to a different, "more acceptable" (aka politically correct)  nationality, with all related consequences and moral repercussions that entail this equivalency. 

There is tragic irony here as Russians in the past were guilty of anti-Semitism (like most European nations).  Now they probably might understand better what it means to be  the target of anti-Semitism.  As Arkadiy Rukh observed (cited from dr-piliulkin.livejournal.com ):

"Today, in the era of the total political correctness in the Western world there is only one object for unpunished hatred, for realization of the inevitable phobias and other psychopathologies. This is Russia. Today Russians occupy in the world that niche, which for many centuries was occupied by the Jews: the object instinctive, illogical, animal hatred."

While in many respects Russophobia as a social phenomenon is somewhat similar to anti-Semitism it is also a natural by-product of American Exeptionalism as Russia refuses to accept the role of a complete vassal of the USA, the role that the US elite designated to them after the collapse of the USSR. And the role which was temporary Russia performed under drunk Yeltsin.

In this sense if it a condemnation of the revolt against "inevitable" in the eyes of the US elite world order --  the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  That also explains the level of bitterness involved. Russophobia became fashionable in Western neoliberal MSM when Russia under Putin became an obstacle on the creation of the global, dominated by the USA neoliberal empire. That resistance to global "neoliberal project" -- neoliberal World Revolution  (although weak and inconsistent -- under Putin Russia became a member of WTO and Medvedev in general is a 'soft" neoliberal, almost a pro-Western comprador) also generates considerable amount of hate. 

Pages of European and American newspapers and their comments columns, are packed with expressions such as

and other similar cliché that clearly remind cliché used by German propaganda against Jews. This anti-Russian hysteria also helps to erase Snowden revelations from Western collective memory as well as WikiLeaks depiction of the USA war crimes.

 The hatred of Russia  as "a new normal"  for the USA political elite, as it was for the  British elite in  the past

The hatred of Russia  now is "a new normal" for the US neoliberal establishment and controlled by this establishment MSM.  How and for what reasons did this happen? The first thing to understand is that this is not a new phenomenon. British elite were adamantly Russophobic for a long time, several centuries:

The historian J. H. Gleason, in his 1950 book The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britain, characterized the nineteenth-century English public’s “antipathy toward Russia” as the “most pronounced and enduring element in the national outlook on the world abroad.”

The sentiment, Gleason concluded, was concocted by a manipulative, imperial-minded elite—and was off base, anyway, since Britain’s foreign policy was actually “more provocative than Russia’s” in this period. Others concur. “The world champion imperialists of modern history, the British, were in a permanent state of hysteria about the chimera of Russia advancing over the Himalayas to India,”

While observations of Arkadiy Rukh are, in my opinion, absolutely correct (the article I cited above is pretty interesting too and contains a valuable discussion) I would add a more recent neoliberal edge of this problem (The Vineyard of the Saker):

The historical roots of the Russophobia of the American elites

Having said all of the above, its actually pretty simple to understand why Russia in general, and Putin in particular, elicits such a deep hatred from the Western plutocracy: having convinced themselves that they won the Cold War they are now facing the double disappointment of a rapidly recovering Russia and a Western economic and political decline turning into what seems to be a slow and painful agony.

In their bitterness and spite, Western leaders overlook the fact that Russia has nothing to do with the West's current problems. Quite to the contrary, in fact: the main impact the collapse of the Soviet Union on the US-run international economic system was to prolong its existence by creating a new demand for US dollars in Eastern Europe and Russia (some economists - such as Nikolai Starikov - estimate that the collapse of the USSR gave an extra 10+ years of life to the US dollar).

In the past, Russia has been the historical arch-enemy of the British Empire. As for Jews - they have always harbored many grievances towards pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia. The Revolution of 1917 brought a great deal of hope for many East-European Jews, but it was short lived as Stalin defeated Trotsky and the Communist Party was purged from many of its Jewish members. Over and over again Russia has played a tragic role in the history of the Ashkenazi Jews and this, of course, has left a deep mark on the worldview of the Neocons who are all deeply Russophobic, even today. Somebody might object that many Jews are deeply grateful for the Soviet Army's liberation of Jews from the Nazi concentration camps or for the fact that the Soviet Union was the first country to recognize Israel. But in both cases, the country which is credited with these actions is the Soviet Union and not Russia which most Ashkenazi Jews still typically associate anti-Jewish policies and values.

It is thus not surprising that both the Anglo and the Jewish elites in the US would harbor an almost instinctive dislike for, and fear of, Russia, especially one perceived as resurgent or anti-American. And the fact is that they are not wrong in this perception: Russia is most definitely resurgent, and the vast majority of the Russian public opinion is vehemently anti-American, at least if by "America" we refer to the civilizational model or economic system.

... ... ...

Considering the never ending barrage of anti-Russian propaganda in the western corporate media one could wonder how strong anti-Russian feelings are in the West. This is really hard to measure objectively, but as somebody born in Western Europe and who has lived a total of 15 years in the USA I would say that anti-Russian sentiment in the West is very rare, almost non-existent. In the USA there have always been strong anti-Communist feelings - there still are today - but somehow most Americans do make the difference between a political ideology that they don't really understand, but that they dislike anyway, and the people which in the past used to be associated with it.

US *politicians*, of course, mostly hate Russia, but most Americans seem to harbor very little bad feelings or apprehension about Russia or the Russian people. I explain that by a combination of factors.

First, since more and more people in the West realize that they are not living in a democracy, but in a plutocracy of the 1%, they tend to take the official propaganda line with more than a grain of salt (which, by the way, is exactly what was happening to most Soviet people in the 1980s). Furthermore, more and more people in the West who oppose the plutocratic imperial order which impoverishes and disenfranchises them into corporate serfs are quite sympathetic to Russia and Putin for "standing up to the bastards in Washington". But even more fundamentally, there is the fact that in a bizarre twist of history Russia today stands for the values of the West of yesterday: international law, pluralism, freedom of speech, social rights, anti-imperialism, opposition to intervention inside sovereign states, rejection of wars as a means to settle disputes, etc.

In the case of the war in Syria, Russia's absolutely consistent stance in defense of international law has impressed many people in the USA and Europe and one can hear more and more praise for Putin from people who in the past has deep suspicions about him.

Russia, of course, is hardly a utopia or some kind of perfect society, far from it, but it has taken the fundamental decision to become a *normal* country, as opposed to being a global empire, and any normal country will agree to uphold the principles of the "West of yesterday", not only Russia. In fact, Russia is very un-exceptional in its pragmatic realization that to uphold these principles is not a matter of naive idealism, but a sound realistic policy goal. People in the West are told by their rulers and the corporate media that Putin in an evil ex-KGB dictator who is a danger for the US and its allies, but as soon as these people actually read or listen to what Putin actually says they find themselves in a great deal of agreement with him.

In another funny twist of history, while the Soviet population used to turn to the BBC, Voice of America or Radio Liberty for news and information, more and more people in the West are turning to Russia Today, Press TV, or Telesur to get their information. Hence the panicked reaction of Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the US outfit overseeing US media directed at foreign audiences, who declared that "we can't allow ourselves to be out-communicated by our enemies. You've got Russia Today, Iran's Press TV, Venezuela's TeleSUR, and of course, China is launching an international broadcasting 24-hour news channel with correspondents around the world". Folks like Isaacson know that they are slowly but surely loosing the informational battle for the control of the minds of the general public.

And now, with the entire Snowden affair, Russia is becoming the safe harbor for those political activists who are fleeing Uncle Sam's wrath. A quick search on the Internet will show you that more and more people are referring to Putin as the "leader of the Free World" while other are collecting signatures to have Obama give his Nobel Prize to Putin. Truly, for those like myself who have actually fought against the Soviet system it is absolutely amazing to see the 180 degree turn the world has taken since the 1980s.

Western elites - still stuck in the Cold War

If the world has radically changed in the last 20 years, the Western elites did not. Faced with a very frustrating reality they are desperately trying to re-fight the Cold War with the hope of re-winning it again. Hence the never ending cycle of Russia-bashing campaigns I mentioned at the beginning of this post. They try to re-brand Russia as the new Soviet Union, with oppressed minorities, jailed or murdered dissidents, little or no freedom of speech, a monolithic state controlled media and an all seeing security apparatus overseeing it all. The problem, of course, is that they are 20 years late and that these accusations don't stick very well with the western public opinion and get exactly *zero* traction inside Russia. In fact, every attempt at interfering inside Russian political affairs has been so inept and clumsy that it backfired every single time. From the absolutely futile attempts of the West to organize a color-coded revolution in the streets of Moscow to the totally counter-productive attempts to create some kind of crisis around homosexual human rights in Russia - every step taken by the western propaganda machine has only strengthened Vladimir Putin and his the "Eurasian Sovereignists" at the expense of the "Atlantic Integrationist" faction inside the Kremlin.

There was a deep and poignant symbolism in the latest meeting of the 21 APEC countries in Bali. Obama had to cancel his trip because of the US budget crisis while Putin was treated to a musically horrible but politically deeply significant rendition of "Happy birthday to you!" by a spontaneous choir composed of the leaders of the Pacific Rim countries. I can just imagine the rage of the White House when they saw "their" Pacific allies serenading Putin for his birthday!

... ... ...

On one side we have the 1%, the Anglo imperialists and the Ziocons, while on the other we have the rest of the planet, including potentially 99% of the American people. If it is true that at this moment in time Putin and his Eurasian Sovereignists are the most powerful and best organized faction of the worldwide resistance to the Empire, they are far from being central, or even less so, crucial, to it. Yes, Russia can, and will, play its role, but only as a normal country amongst many other normal countries, some small and economically weak like Ecuador, other huge and powerful like China. But even small Ecuador was "big enough" to grand refuge to Julian Assange while China seems to have asked Snowden to please leave. So Ecuador is not that small after all?

It would be naive to hope that this "de-imperialization" process of the USA could happen without violence. The French and British Empires collapsed against the bloody backdrop of WWII, while did the Nazi and Japanese Empires were crushed under a carpet of bombs. The Soviet Empire collapsed with comparatively less victims, and most of the violence which did take place during that process happened on the Soviet periphery. In Russia itself, the number of death of the mini civil war of 1993 was counted in the thousands and not in the millions. And by God's great mercy, not a single nuclear weapon was detonated anywhere.

So what will likely happen when the US-Ziocon Empire finally collapses under its own weight? Nobody can tell for sure, but we can at least hope that just as no major force appeared to rescue the Soviet Empire in 1991-1993, no major force will attempt to save the US Empire either. As David Rovic's puts it so well, the big weakness of the 1% which rule the US-Ziocon Empire is that "they are a tiny minority and we are everywhere".

In the past 20 years the US and Russia have followed diametrically opposed courses and their roles appears to have been reversed. That "pas de deux" is coming to some kind of end now. Objective circumstances have now again placed these two countries in opposition to each other, but this is solely due to the nature of the regime in Washington DC. Russian leaders could repeat the words of the English rapper Lowkey and declare "I'm not anti-America, America is anti-me!" and they could potentially be joined by 99% of Americans who, whether they already realize it or not, are also the victims of the US-Ziocon Empire.

In the meantime, the barrage of anti-Russian propaganda campaigns will continue unabated simply because this seems to have become a form of psychotherapy for a panicked and clueless western plutocracy. And just as in all the previous cases, this propaganda campaign will have no effect at all.

It is my hope that next time we hear about whatever comes next after the current "Greenpeace" campaign you will keep all this in mind.

The Saker

The USA and Russian should be strategic partners

During the "cold War" the "old" US elite behaved more or less reasonably and tried to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Several moments were clear exception (Korea War, Cuban crisis, Vietnam war and support of radical political Islam in Afghanistan), but all-in-all it was kind of policy of "peaceful coexistence" (live and give other chance to live), not of an outright "all out" confrontation.

Intelligence agencies behaves more provocatively, especially CIA in Europe, which organized and trained Nazi collaborators for the resistance to the possible Soviet invasion, and subsequent guerilla movement against Soviet occupation.  Also in case of JFK assassination, the patsy was chosen by the CIA in a way that makes it easy to implicate Russia. But those were exception, rather then the rule.  Probably the memory of the WWII and the level of cooperation of two countries in this war as allies still played some role in such restrain.

But eventually a new generation of US elite, the elite did not have WWII experience come to power.  This  new US elite tried hard to colonize Russia instead of making it a valuable partner after dissolution of the USSR. Bill Clinton and Larry Summers are two good example of this behaviour.

This adventurism backfired.  This was probably the first blunder, the blunder make by Clinton administration -- the first administration with a lot of neocons onboard (we all remember unforgettable female neocon Madeleine Albright).  they failed to utilize pro-USA fe4elings of the Russian population after the dissolution of the USA. Should the USA adopt the Marshall plan for Russia those feelings would be preserved. But the Clinton administration decided to loot  Russia and concert it into a vassal state. That was a strategic mistake, although looting succeeded on a really grand stale (several trillions were stolen) with the help of Harvard mafia and Russian compradors.  The instituted shock therapy for  the Russian economics which plunged it into depression which was worse thatn the one which was coursed by the Germany aggression in WWII.  Many important enterprises went bankrupts, other were bought by foreign investors for pennies on the dollar (Browder was one notable example of this "looting gang" that descended on Russia at the time; Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky and other Jewish oligarchs were another important players in this looting)

Subsequent administration also demonstrated strong neocon influence (actually neocons, such as Paul Wolfowitz dominated Bush II administration foreign policy)  and due to it made several strategic blunders such as invasions in Iraq, Afghanistan  and Libya.  And that despite the fact the Russia provided great help in Afghan operation, as it essentially controlled (and armed) the North Alliance against Taliban. 

Obama administration essentially continued Bush II foreign policy without major changes. The only change was that is did was more double-dealing. It did get Russia into a trap, when Medvedev government abstained in UN Security council votes for Libyan resolution (which was a disguised justification of NATO military intervention), which opened the way to the occupation of Libya and killing of colonel Kaddafi ("We came, we saw, he died").  Obama administration also masterfully played Iran card against Russia, crashing oil prices three times (from $120 to $30) from the second half of 2014 to January 2016 and keeping oil prices below $50 per barrel (on average) all 2016 (Russia needs approximately $50-$55 just to balance the state budget).

It also outplayed Russia in Ukraine tuning this county into nationalistic enclave extremely hostile to Russia (see "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place ). And then to add insult to injury introduced sanctions against Russia. Obama might be not a great president, but he for sure is one of the greatest hypocrites in world history.

But those attacks as well as a clear attempt to encircle Russia in Europe backfired: if you pursue containment of China and at the same time introduce sanctions against Russia it is only natural that these countries will become closer political partners. From the point of view of traditional American and any other political logic, actions that contribute to the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, are, to put it mildly, unwise.  And that what Obama administration archived. This is the main legacy of Obama administration in foreign policy, which was dutifully continued by Trump administration (actually the USA foreign policy does not depend of who is in power as the President and who is the Secretary of State; it is controlled by the Deep State -- forces outside elected executive branch and which consist of MIC, intelligence agencies and the Wall Street (financial oligarchy) as well as created by then think tanks such and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)). 

Russian elite for too long was trying to please the Western colleagues. They swallowed completely unacceptable things. Gorbachov is generally considered in Russia as a traitor of the nation. They resigned to NATO expansion. Even after the bombing of Yugoslavia, which was  a clear violation of international law, they still viewed the USA a friendly nation and hoped for the best. Another problem was that Russia was too weak at the moment, kind of semi-colony of the USA (and Yeltsin regime was clearly a comprador regime, no question about it). 

But at this point attitude to the USA start changing to negative.  After Ukrainian coup d'état of February 2014 (Maydan Revolution, as it is called in the West) this change only accelerated and "Athlantists" group enough Russian neoliberal elite lost a lot of influence and became politically ostracized. . In other words huge amount of political goodwill that existed in Russia after dissolution of the USSR was completely squandered in less then 30 years.   That's an amazing art of making enemies from friends.

But at the end of Obama administration Russia just stopped to trust the USA. At all. They view Obama as treacherous and extremely dangerous imperialist, who will not stop at anything by promoting the US domination.  That means that they now view the USA as a geopolitical gangster, which is violating any laws in impunity using classic "might makes right" principle. That's a dangerous view and dangerous situation for the USA.  This is another geopolitical blunder of the US elite.  This view only became stronger under Trump administration.

I never was a Russian citizen, but I was and still am interested in Russian politics and, especially, culture. I think that it is a European culture in its essence. Very interesting and very rich. Which was able to survive years of Soviet rule. So attempt of isolate Russia from Europe attempted by Obama neocons (see Nulandgate), following classic "device and conquer" strategy of British Empire, might be a geopolitical mistake despite short term dividends  this  action brought to the USA geopolitical position in the region.  It also increase the  changes of WWIII, which definitely would mean end of the USA as the global empire  and probably as a country (the same is true for Russia -- both countries will be completely devastated)

Neocons as the owners of the USA foreign policy. Full Spectrum Dominance mantra

Neocons defined Russia as the main threat. In other words deterrence of Moscow became the strategic goal of the USA foreign policy, which is essentially a neocon foreign policy, the policy of obtaining and maintaining the world domination at all costs. 

That means that the efforts to explicitly shape the USA public opinion to see Russia as the key geopolitical enemy are dictated by priorities of the USA foreign policy, which is defined by neocons.

This "Anaconda strategy" of encircling Russia got a significant boost after the victory of far right in EuroMaidan. This event has become for a great geopolitical victory for the USA and humbling defeat for Russia. Russia was in bad shape to prevent it, as the logic of development of new state immanently produces anti-Russian sentiments as the mean to create their own identity. But still weakness of Russia in Ukraine was real and signify a serious problems ahead. Also the USA is way to strong to go into open confontation with the US neocons, which dominates the US foreign policy.

The reaction of Russia on far right victory at EuroMaydan gave rise in in the US establishment, to even more active implementation of the strategy of confrontation, and propaganda campaign against "the Russian threat".  Like Bolsheviks before them (and neocons are just turncoat Trotskyites, so there are a lot of common between two), they hate any obstacle on the path to creation of global neoliberal empire led by the USA. This strategy involves increasing the military presence on the European continent and military power of NATO. Much tougher stance toward Russian projects in Western and Eastern Europe and in attacks on the level of international organizations. Along with the anti-Russian operations in Europe, the US and its satellites are active in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus. A good example is the recent attempt to organize a Maidan in Armenia.

The role of skepticism toward neocon propaganda

My negative attitude to distortions and clearly orchestrated by White house  anti-Russian campaign in the USA press reflects my natural skepticism. I am not content with typical coverage of Russia in the USA press which reminds me the caricature on the USA coverage by Soviet press (which at the time had higher standard of living the people of the USSR and low level of unemployment).  I consider hysteric Russophobia that is now practiced  to be simplistic and counterproductive policy which serves to promote equally shortsighted global imperial policy that benefits only the US financial oligarchy. Policy that has considerable cold-war inertia and that is damaging to the USA long term interests. Most journalists are simply behave like paid attack dogs (a good example here is Mr. Wallace: his interview of Putin was an insult to the American people; Wallace actually tried to lecture Vladimir Putin).

Here I collected some of the authors who try to see more long term approach and try to present their own understanding of the complex problems related to previous US attempt to colonize Russia after the dissolution of the USSR.  Or at least advice a more realistic US foreign policy toward Russia. Of course it is nice to squash the old geo-political enemy like a bug and I would be the first to admit that under Yeltsin West came close to this scenario. Criminal privatization of Russian companies was hugely successful attempt to put an end to the Russia as an independent country. Similar strategy was by-and-large successful in other USSR republics like Ukraine, Georgia and especially Baltic countries creating what can be called New Latin America.

But after Putin came to power, the attempts to convert Russia into yet another Latin American country became gradually reversed (although this process is some areas went too far and to reverse it completely is very difficult). As Ira Straus aptly put it in her letter Russia, U.S. Media:

Nowadays attacking Russia has a politically correct tinge to it, since Russia is a white Christian country. By contrast, attacking China still suffers from being susceptible to counter-charges of racism and anti-Communism. Perhaps this is the source of the strange double standard in which Russia is attacked just about any day for just about anything while China is virtually ignored day after day, month after month for the same and far worse.

Attacking Russia is especially "correct" when it is a matter attacking a Republican Administration for being soft on a Russia that is beating up on Muslims. One doubts that much of the American public shares the media's sensibilities on this. Picture bubba listening as Dan Rather launches into Russia for beating up on Muslim Chechens; he'll probably be telling himself, "there the liberal media go again, standing up for our enemies and blaming our allies the Russians for fighting back". Among Americans who write about politics, only Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter dare to say such things, but many more think it, in whole or in part.

The importance of adversarial culture for the media can be seen from the Bush I administration, which truly was anti-Russian. The media bashed Bush I for this; it became ambivalent on Russia, taking on a more pro-Russian hue than any time before or since. As soon as Clinton got a pro-Russian reputation, the media switched back to Russia-bashing mode. It was Clinton-bashing that was the real point.

In other words, the media should not be taken as a barometer of U.S. government policies on Russia. It is more often an indicator of the opposite.

What does it matter? A lot. The media drumbeat against Russia has an enormous impact on public policy, not only in the US but in every Western country, and in Russia itself. It makes it hard to think clearly, or even to see clearly. It fosters and fans conflict. It promotes a tit for every tat.

First, the effects on Russians. The media play an enormous role in convincing them that we're an enemy. They can see CNN, BBC and other Western media daily, at length; they hear from our government only rarely, and practically never from the American people. They can see the Western media's implicit premises far more clearly than the media themselves do. Mistakenly assuming these premises to represent Western policy, they draw what would be the logical conclusion: that we are their enemy. If Russia does in turn become an enemy again, the media will have been a major cause of it.

Second, effects on Western policy-making are just as damaging. Instead of helping the Western governments do their thinking, the media block out most of the space for it. They make it harder for the West to think out loud about such matters as how to build active alliance relations with Russia, or how to overcome the remaining Cold War standoffs. They make it harder to follow a steady course where cooperation has been agreed, They have done much to cause the West to be an unreliable partner for Russia, an unreliability that democrats in Russia noted with profound regret throughout the 1990s. They prioritize conflicting interests over shared interests, encouraging every minor divergence of interest to grow into a major opposition. Their audience ratings flourish on conflict; and no longer fearing it as risking war or nuclear incineration, they promote it shamelessly.

If we end up with a new Cold War -- and the risk is becoming a real one -- it won't be a small thing. It would mean a nuclear superpower once again ranged against us and the world plunged back into a bipolar disorder, only in more unstable conditions. In that case, the media will no doubt turn around and denounce as "reckless" those who carry out their painful duties in the conflict. The truly reckless ones, however, will have been those in this era who so freely did so much to bring it on.

My personal views are close to views expressed by Anatoly Karlin in About Da Russophile

As regards Russian politics, I make no secret that I’m a pro-Putin conservative. That said, my views are moderate – while Western media coverage of Russia may be woefully biased and frequently malicious, there are certainly plenty of things to criticize about Russia and Russians.

However, they must be grounded in in statistics, an appreciation of the viewpoints of ordinary Russians, and a judicious comparative perspective (which is NOT equivalent to "moral relativism" or "whataboutism" as many of the more hardcore Russophobe propagandists claim).

I think that the Western MSM fails on all three counts:

This blog concerns with calling them out on their lies. As the one-time Guardian chief editor C.P. Scott once said, "Comment is free but facts are sacred." While his newspaper has retreated from this vision in practice, I maintain that it’s the most elegant encapsulation of what real journalism (and punditry, blogging, etc) should all be about.

...I consider Charles de Gaulle to have done a great job, and consider Putin to be a comparable figure in vision and stature.

Russians are coming: War hysteria as classic Adorno

Outside obvious "Lebensraum" motives, it looks like western hate towards Russia rests on some deep inadequacy syndrome. Russia is supposed to be some has-been power that is now of no consequence, yet it gets way more attention than such a worthless state would merit. The amount of negative coverage since Sochi Olympics is bordering on war hysteria. That's dangerous pass as ideas became material things when they penetrate deep into conscience of nation. Hate eventually tends to materialize.

The amount of negative coverage since Sochi Olympics is bordering on war hysteria. That's dangerous pass as ideas became material things when they penetrate deep into conscience of nation. Hate eventually tends to materialize.

Russophobia as persistent policy of the US government and US media. And all this talk about Russia aggressiveness, and carefully orchestrated related war hysteria in MSM is pure projection. It is the USA which is the most aggressive international player on the world stage.

Russophobia is the unofficial but persistent set of behavioral patterns of the US government and US media. It is clear that US tried to weaken and possibly dismember Russia out of geopolitical considerations which represents a real threat to the US world hegemony. This idea on which the US elite is hell bent since end of WWII and there were even plans to bomb Russia just after end of WWII.

It is the only military power that can annihilate large part of the continental USA, But there is something deeper here. It is also an attempt to unify nation, which under neoliberalism became much less coherent whole and in which 99% of the population hates the top 1% and the level of this hate is increasing, especially in minorities and inner cities.

Russophobia is a crucial part of the US foreign policy. In this respect the US foreign policy is so messianic that it reminds me Soviet foreign policy (with the substitution of "triumph of democracy" for "triumph of communism") and I wonder if the USSR really was a defeated party in the Cold War. This mentality of "export of revolution" is the integral part of mentality of the US elite. The difference with Trotskyism, if exists, is minor, and the key difference between Trotskyism and the US flavor of messianism probably is connected with the smell of oil which radically increases the urge to democratize a particular country. In any case attempt to export democracy in Russia never stopped since 1991 and under Yeltsin were so successful that the country lost more in industrial production then during the second World War and poverty became a norm for more then 50% of the population.

Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed) attitude exists partially because the Western elites hate resource nationalists independently whether those nationalists are leftist or conservative. Fighting resource nationalists tooth-and-nail is an important, may be even critical part of neoliberal doctrine. The latter is a civic religion in the USA. That means the Russophobia in the USA has strong religious component, and is supported by 500 pound gorilla of the US elite propaganda machine. In other words there is a strong, consistent tendency of demonization of Russia (Paul Starobin, The National Interest Blog, August 28, 2014):

In any case, our taste for a country—favorable or unfavorable—shouldn’t dictate our foreign policy, which is properly shaped by a cool calculation of our national interest. On these terms, America is right to resist Russia if Putin seems truly bent on bullying his way to a redrawn map of Europe, but also right to try to keep working with Russia on matters of mutual concern such as Islamic militancy. And that same calculation will hold when Putin, as must happen eventually, exits the Kremlin, willingly or unwillingly, whether replaced by a new autocrat or a more democratic figure. Today’s heightened tension between the United States and Russia, conceivably the first chapter of a new cold war, with Europe as ambivalent as ever about its role, underscores that Russia is likely to remain one of America’s most vexing and formidable diplomatic challenges for a long time to come.

So the future of the presentation of Russia as a hodgepodge of unflattering stereotypes seems bright. The naive liberal notion that the world has a teleological disposition toward a progressive end—if only holdouts like Russia would get with the program—is deeply entrenched. Headlines datelined in Russia—on corrupt oligarchs, or on control-freak KGB-generation political operators—will continue to nourish sweeping criticism of Russians, from their leaders on down, as primitive and psychologically ill. Probably no other nation is so easy (or so safe) to caricature.

And the “Russia Is Doomed” syndrome is bound to survive because Russia, alas, still matters. The object of such concentrated anxiety over the centuries, far from heading down a path to obscurity, remains a global force and impossible to ignore. So the worries will live on, too, as will the sublimated wish to efface Russia. But perhaps the good news for the critics is precisely that Russia is not about to go away. They will have plenty of grist for their mill for decades to come.

The issue is whether comprador elites subservient to the US are in power, or more nationalistic "national sovereignty" guys. It is true that a nationalist elite can be as predatory as a comprador elite, but a reasonable degree of national sovereignty is a prerequisite for social justice and it is difficult to raise standard of living if your resources are owned by transnationals. The latter automatically became above the law and do what they want with impunity.

Russophobic views on Russia "There is no life there !"

The Russophobic views on Russia can be summed up in three words: "There is no life there !" This simple formula invoke the whole complex system of "corrupt journalism patterns" and powerful propaganda mechanisms polished during 45 years of Cold War. Those journalistic patterns causes most western journalists (not without help of their political handlers as independent journalism in the USA is a joke) treat Russia as a failed state. Not simply a country that temporary dropped out of the world civilization, but the country is doomed to such a drop by the several immanent features such as "national character", climate, landmass, religion, history, etc.

From Dr. MacFaul quotes above it is clear that in the American media and among American politicians Russia occupies a marginal position. After the Soviet Union is gone, they mostly cares about getting assets on pennies per dollar (behaviour of criminals like Mr. Browder, whom McFaul loves so much, exemplifies such an attitude) and to lesser extent about Russia military capabilities, which are still a risk. Although I doubt that.

From the typical US behavior it looks like American politicians are not really interested in any other aspect of Russian situation, other then energy resources (Khodorkovsky is a new saint in the USA, probably for his failed attempt to sell Russia oil resources to US companies). And he is new puppet in the show of finding the possibilities of regime change and installing a puppet regime as they unsuccessfully tried in 2011-2012. They still miss Yeltsin drunk regime and Gaidar-Chubais neoliberal gang, which almost converted Russia into kleptocracy from which Putin tried gradually to extract it with great and not always successful efforts.

It all comes down to a set of cliché: Russia is corrupt (while in reality this is a immanent feature of all neoliberal regimes and first of all the USA, the most corrupt neoliberal regime in existence) , does not respect human rights (unlike Saudis) and does not play by the rules (unlike Libya rebels), is not democratic (unlike Qatar). Russia seems to them so weak and uninteresting, not worthy of a real partnership dialogue. And is arrogant enough not to agree with the status of vassal so she needs to be taken care of:

"To promote liberty requires first the containment and then the elimination of those forces opposed to liberty, be they individuals, movements, or regimes. " - M. McFaul, The Liberty Doctrine: Reclaiming the purpose of American power. Policy Review April & May 2002 The Liberty Doctrine Hoover Institution

Such an ungrateful jerks, who jailed Dick Cheney best friend Khodorkovsky, squeezed this perfectly honest guy, exemplary "the largest portfolio investor in Russia, British citizen William Browder" (Who, BTW, was the USA citizen until recently, but suddenly changed his mind) and so on and so forth. They should be "regime changed". It is like the relationship between schoolchildren, when a bully see a threat on the school yard and acts preemptively.

Very well orchestrated Russophobia campaign of Western MSM

The first thing that surprise me is a very well "coordinated" level of Russophobia demonstrated by Western MSM. The degree of Russophobia in Western press varies very little be it Guardian, or NYT, or BBC or WashPost. As financial oligarchy controls the MSM you can't expect anything different. They act as a pack of dogs. Typical level is treating Russian as forever damned barbarians. Slightly more advanced is treating Russia a legitimate playground for testing the controversial socio-economic doctrines like shock therapy and a land were any foreign crook is entitled to get rich fast (like Browder did ). But the essence is the same, no right for "national sovereignty", no right for any "special way". Those concepts are simply outside a typical Western press journalists "template" that their editors enforce.

As John Drury noted in his comment to U.S. Russia Withheld Intel on Boston Bomb Suspect - WSJ.com

Ridiculous comments populate the blogs, the op eds and the comment sections of most sites. But what unsettles me more is the rabid Russian phobia (call it "Russophobia") which populates the American press (liberal/conservative).

We never see things from the Russian side. It is always Putin who is up to no good, Vladimir, the monster, the balding fool with no shirt flexing his muscles. This is not the Cold War, yet we have not shed our Cold War biases.

See Propaganda and The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment for more information

Two types of Russophobes: "Russophobes by conviction" vs. "Russophobes for money"

Russophobia is a form of racism and studies of other forms of racism such as anti-Semitism are applicable here.

It is a prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Russian people as an ethnic, religious, or racial group. In Baltic states it is close to regime of Apartheid. In Ukraine it has a form of suppression of Russian language and culture

Russophobes by conviction

I have an impression on the personal level sincere and acute Russophobia (not to be mixed with Russophobia as a official line ) can be a compensation mechanism (classic Adorno). I am not talking here about ideological prostitution typical for MSM journalists. But on individual level it looks like projection not that different from other national bigotry and the undisputable and provable fact is that the USA and, especially, Great Britain MSM serves as an "Incubator of hatred" toward Russia. Of course this also tells something very important about the US/GB governments.

I suspect that those who adopt Russophobia position not for money (let's call them "sincere Russophobes") have a personality of sectants/fanatics in a very deep sense of this word. Or like Eric Hoffer called them "True Believers" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Believer).

For though ours is a godless age, it is the very opposite of irreligious. The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image. And whether we are to line up with him or against him, it is well that we should know all we can concerning his nature and potentialities.

In a way sincere Russophobe's are almost extinct minority (but still can be found among Ukrainian nationalists ;-).

Russophobes for money

There a legion of "Russophobes for money". People who are profiting personally from Russophobia nonsense they spew. This is common among all those people who are far from the sharpest tools form the box. As a result they try to occupy a niche that is still available and earn living in such a disgusting way. At best they are average with very few exceptions (Belkovski might be one exception). In a way we can view it as a survival tactic of people with mediocre talent in conditions of high competition. Similar displacement into obscure niches can be observed for mediocre people in other professions.

This "Russophobia for money" is common among all those people who are far from the sharpest tools form the box. As a result they try to occupy a niche that is still available and earn living in such a disgusting way.

"Russophobia for money" is common among all those people who are far from the sharpest tools form the box. As a result they try to occupy a niche that is still available and earn living in such a disgusting way.

Cold War II as an attempt to slow down the pace of Russia modernization and preserve it as an "oil drum" for the West

Cold War II is rooted not in Ukrainian event (The EuroMaydan coup d'état was organized by the USA and Western powers; Crimea was only a pretext) but is closely connected with the neocon attempts to slow down the pace of Russia modernization and secure Russia status as resource vassal of the USA. Here is a part of discussion from Kremlin Stooge that touch this theme in relation to Skolkovo techno-park.

kievite:
April 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

This is a very apt comment and I wish that your observation comes true. But the problem is that as you :

"The forces arrayed against Russia are sufficiently formidable and sufficiently unrelenting "

First of all the West is rich enough to finance substantial fifth column, especially fifth column media (official $70 millions for support of NGO and "alternative" press is just a tip of iceberg). That’s the essence of neo-colonialism do nothing new here. Also a large part of elite is already linked to the West and is not interested in any confrontation. Nothing new here too.

So the discussion about what level of state capitalism is beneficial (or where Medvedev should stop with his "second liberalization") is complex and far from purely technical one. External forces should be taken into account and once in a while liberalization companies to placate the West are not completely bad idea no matter how you view neoliberalism: state capitalism requires periodic "purges" (Stalin well understood that) and "liberalization" and, especially "fight with corruption" provides perfect pretext for purges. If one looks at some Medvedev’s actions from this angle and you might well come to conclusion that it might be not complete sell-off but a more complex game.

In situation when you need to purge excesses of state capitalism West can serve as a natural ally and in such situation slogan of cat Leopold "Rebyata davayte zhit’ druzhno" (Let’s be friends) suddenly became politically viable at least among the pro-Western part of the elite. And the idea of periodic moving the pendulum from "higher statism" to "higher private enterprise support" in order to avoid stagnation, say, each seven-ten year period is not completely absurd. The main question is whether the process runs out of control or not.

Another possible contention point is that sooner of later oil flow will start diminishing and with it revenues will also start dropping. Currently there are too few industries that can replace the flow the oil dollars. Attempt to revitalize some of the existing heavy industries under the flag of liberalization, if done clever is not a bad idea.

And as much as everybody here hates neoliberalism it is very clear about who should be the victim and provides an ideological justification for cruel actions against own population. Like Bolshevism, it proved to be an extremely potent weapon of convincing population to act against their own economic interests (see What’s the matter with Kansas for details). Perfect tool for the brainwashing "peasants" if you wish, very important when "Pryanikov sladkih vsegna ne hvataet na vseh" (Okudzhava ).

marknesop
April 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm I believe the oil money will go on for some time yet. Current practices are sloppy and inefficient, and more oil could be realized with better, more modern techniques, as well as new discoveries coming online. However, an early start on overhauling general business practices would be time and money well spent.

Medvedev should draw a lesson from Skolkovo. This is a project he has personally sponsored and touted as Russia’s official debut in the high-tech sector. Western response, overall, has been withering and contemptuous, although some major commercial figures (such as Microsoft) have offered early investment optimism. Collective opinion seems to be that Russia will use the new tech city as a base from which to steal foreign technology secrets from investors, or that it will be a dismal failure because Russians have no real ideas of their own. The west is likely to greet other initiatives by Medvedev in the same manner – hearty laughter, followed by offers to come in and make western-style changes for him, in exchange for certain considerations.

kievite
April 14, 2011 at 1:21 am

Very true. Thanks for the response.

You are right: Skolkovo is fuzzy (what exactly is "high-tech") initiative as first of all Medvedev can’t abolish brain-drain and that what will happens with the most talented researchers. The only realistic bait he has is blocking the companies from entering Russian market unless they provide considerable degree of localization and require that some fraction of research be performed in such parks. That’s a variant of policy that China successfully used. But if Russia joins WTO, tariff barriers to protect domestic producers in vital sectors will be more difficult to erect.

At the same time autarky does not work either. So maneuvering between those Scylla of globalization and Charybdis of autarky requires top political skills from the captain of the ship.

Some sectors of Russian heavy industry already are proved abroad and products already have some competitive advantage and export markets. That’s where this comparative advantage needs to be preserved and enhanced with help of techno-parks. State subsidized R&D is really important here and can be provided via small university based local techno parks. This would an excellent employment opportunity for most talented students who otherwise might emigrate and such parks not necessary need any foreign participation. This is especially important if company is partially state owned, as this along with having reps at the board that protects the investment. OK, I would agree, that it’s not necessary need to be people on minister level. It would be sad if he really wants not to reform or improve, but to dismantle state capitalism.

The real problem here that without oil revenue Russia gets into zugzwang. Hopefully, as you noted, that will not be soon.

marknesop
April 14, 2011 at 3:30 am

Yes, you’re right about Skolkovo; I did a piece on it awhile back (here) and Chinese tech parks were cited as an example. It’s funny how the west is all gaga over China, and just brushes off the fact that China has a considerably more predatory business model than does Russia; China shamelessly raids the west for business information and constantly tests them for weaknesses which might be exploited. But, obtusely, it’s Russia that’s held up as the consummate corporate raider.

I believe if Russia were allowed to join the WTO, fewer barriers would be necessary. There’s no reason foreign companies shouldn’t have to contribute to the local economy, but they should receive tradeoffs as well such as low corporate tax rates, and that was one of the considerations. Medvedev seems determined that Skolkovo will succeed, while some elements in the west are just as determined it will be a failure. We’ll see. Russia is a world leader in medical research, and I understand that will be a big part of Skolkovo as well.

Does Russia represent an alternative to the neoliberal economic/social model?

It is difficult to say where Putin's brand of mixture of neoliberal and state capitalism get him and Russian people. I would say that the answer is "reserved no". Currently Russia, while opposing the US hegemony does not provide an alternative economic model. And that's the weakness of "Putinism".

Here is a left-biased, but still very interesting assessment of the situation along similar lines: "All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. " ([Oct 21, 2014] Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values?):

2014/10/19 | Sociología crítica

Danos tu opinión

Un amable lector de este blog ha realizado un resumen en inglés de nuestro artículo Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar; es un resumen diferente al que nosotros hubiéramos hecho, pero de interés sin duda alguna. Ha sido publicado como apoyo a una pregunta en un coloquio con el economista ruso Mikhail Khazin organizado por The vineyard of the saker. Publicaremos aquí la respuesta.

Question: Does Russia represent an alternative to the current western economic/social model? Or is this view an illusion based only on the conflict between some traditional vs. post-modern values? / Arturo

For context to the question I will provide a translation / paraphrase / summary of some key points in the following article Las catedrales del kremlin y el capitalismo multipolar

The article contains and numbers many more points (36 in total) but I have translated/summarized only the first 14 (the rest is provided is a very raw translation --NNB)

  1. Moscow cannot defeat the American plans – i.e. the Anglo Zionist world elite – without contradicting the class interests of its own elites (Russian oligarchs): This is impossible because the system of sanctions and the blocking of access to their accounts and assets in the West generates such contradictions in the Russian power elites that, in practice, it prevents them from reacting adequately; it puts them on their knees before the America.
  2. Russia *could* resist those plans, since it possesses the strength, sense of identity, historical memory and material resources to do so. But in order to do so, its ruling elites would have to take measures that would affect their own class status within both the Russian system and the international system. And we can see that these are measures they are not willing to take. On the other hand, the Anglo Zionists suffer no such internal contradiction. Quite the opposite, in fact: Their own interest as the supporting base of the globalist hyperclass necessarily forces them to maintain the challenge to the end.
  3. By the term Anglo Zionists, in this analysis, we mean the dominant power group whose territorial and military base resides in the United States, and whose center originates in the historical and social links of the Anglo-American oligarchies, branching off to other historical central metropolis in Europe or other power centers in different parts of the world.
  4. The concept is made up of two elements that must be explained: the first, the “anglo” reference, has to do with the North American British connection [...] the second, the “zionist” reference, has to do with the interconnection among the economic and financial power groups that maintain various kinds of links with Israel. It is not so much a reference to ethnic origin, but rather to orientations as groups or lobbies of political and economic interests. A good part of this Zionist component consists of people who are neither Israelis nor Jews, but who feel identified with the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, Britain and other countries. Thus the term “zionist” referees here to an ideology, not to an ethnic origin.
  5. The Anglo elites on both sides of the Atlantic have evolved from being national elites to being the executive base of a world Hyperclass made up of individuals capable of exerting a determining influence in the most powerful nation, the United States.
  6. The result of the Anglo Zionist line of attack is that the contradiction and internal struggle is now occurring in Moscow between those who have already chosen to sell out and those who have not yet found the time to realize that a multipolar global capitalism is not viable.
  7. In this context, recovering Crimea was a mirage, an illusion.
  8. If we compare the implications of the Maidan coup in Kiev with the liberation of Crimea, we see that the strategic defeat implicit in losing Ukraine as an ally is of such magnitude that everything else pales by co s (all of them) in Kiev was so gigantic that its implications are frightening. It was either a failure or something even worse. In any case, the Crimea affair was merely a small episode in a confrontation that Russia is losing.
  9. Russia arrived very late at modern capitalism, and that is why its current elite will be unable to occupy a space among the globalist elite without paying the necessary toll, which is none other than renouncing its territorial power base – its country and its access to and control of its energy resources and raw materials.
  10. Stubbornly maintaining the dispute in trying to obtain a multi-polar capitalism, leads necessarily to a intra-capitalist confrontation, as it did in 1914-1918. And because of the nature of the current actors, nuclear powers … it brings the conflict to 2.0 war versions (color revolutions)
  11. All attempts by Russia to develop a hypothetical line of response based on similar strategies (i.e. mobilizing a social response based on discontent) have no future, because Russia does not represent an alternative social model, not even in the realm of Illusion of Hope. It can only elicit some empathy from those who reject the American domination, but here the class contradictions come into play again, because it is not enough to oppose Washington merely on political-military grounds, since the key to global power resides in the financial and military structures that enable global control and plunder: World Trade Organization, IMF, Free Trade agreements, World Bank, NATO… these are entities in relation to which Russia only shows its displeasure at not being invited to the table as an equal, not accepting that because it arrived late at modern capitalism, it must play a secondary role. On the other hand, Russia is ignoring the deep contempt, bordering on racism, that things Slavic generate among Anglo Zionist elites.
  12. In order to be able to fight the 2.0 versions of war that are engineered today, an alternative social model is needed. Alternative not only in regard to the postmodern vs. traditional sets of values, but fundamentally in regard to the social model that stems from the modes of production. In the postmodern vs. traditional conflict, Russia tends to align with the most reactionary values. And in regard to the social struggle, they don’t want to enter that fray because they renounced it long ago. They renounced the entire Soviet Union, which they destroyed from within.
  13. The contradictions and the dialectical nature of reality have their own logic, however. Thus, a coup in Kiev and the widespread appearance of Nazi symbols in the streets of Ukraine was all that it took to induce a spontaneous reaction in the Slavic world. The popular resistance in the Donbass took strong root thanks to the historic memory of the people’s of the old USSR and its war against fascism.
  14. If Russia were to abandon Novorossia to the oligarchs and their mafias, the world’s “left” – or whatever remains of it — would come to scorn post-Soviet Russia even more than it already does. In the months following the brave action in Crimea and the heroic resistance in the Donbass, many people around the world looked to Moscow in search of some sign that it would support the anti-fascist and anti-oligarchic resistance, even if only as an act of self-defense by Moscow against the globalist challenge. If it finally abandons Novorossia, the price in terms of loss of moral prestige will be absolute.
  15. A support of the left has not been sought, but that is a collateral consequence of the character of class struggle open that has been given in the Donbas, where Russia has been forced to provide some assistance that would prevent the genocide at the hands of the fascist Ukrainian.
  16. Cuando say left, we refer logically to the one who has expressed their support to the struggle of people in the Donbas, as it is very difficult to consider the "left" to those who have preferred to remain silent or to have directly been complicit in the assault, and the coup in Kiev.
  17. The degradation of the left as politically active social force is very intense, their structures are embroiled in the collapse, or in the confusion, when not literally corrupt. Then related to both socialist parties since 1914 and the communists, at least from the time of fracture of 1956. The social changes experienced in Europe with the systems of welfare state, based on the elevation of the standard of living of the working population and the obtaining of social peace by sharing the power with the trade unions are at the base of the post-industrial society and the resulting profound changes of values.

    The suicide of the USSR in 1989-93 marked a brutal global change , in which the balance which was preserved during the cold war was broken. That led to the capitalist elite in the west, which we are calling the Anglo-Zionists, to the suspension of the social pact (forced abandonment of New Deal), that gave rise to the welfare state and the emergence stark reality of a global power of capitalists without systemic opposition . Today the whole neoliberal globalization system of capitalism is in danger by the depletion of the natural resources. And to sustain this mode of production, they need to speed up territorial domination in the form of control and access to resources of other countries. Now there no space in the global system for spaces, which are managed autonomously even to a certain level.

  18. The system of global domination, capitalism, ruling elites with a territorial basis in the area of Anglo-American, global parasitic Hyperclass and depletion of resources, as well as cannibalization of the other nations, in the midst of troika of crisis of climate change, peak of the energy and raw materials shortages. those three factors that challenge the current globalization framework ... And the crisis of Novorossia, been demonstrated both impotence and the lack of real political autonomy of Russian elite with the respect to the dominant power in neoliberal worlds order..
  19. The new citizen movements in the western world are not so much resistance movements as samples of the discontent of the middle classes in precarious position of marginalization and/or social trance. This protest led to a "Maidans" which are not permanent and does not question the basis of the system. The participants seems to believe that it is possible to restore the old good world of the welfare state.
  20. The western movements are brainwashed by messages emanating from the headquarters of Democratic party of North America, the propaganda anarcho-capitalist and the various networks of ideological interference, are managing to break the bonds of historical memory that unite the struggles of the past with the present, de-ideologize the struggles and conflicts and to deny the tension left and right, isolating the militants -- or simple citizens who feel identified with the values of the left - of the masses who are suffering in the first place casualisation. At the heart of this new "left" are leaders that are co-opted voices, pseudo-intellectuals who destroy the words and empty of content of key concepts in a way that the alienation of the masses demonstrate at the language itself, thus preventing putting a real name to social process and things, and to identify the social phenomena.
  21. Viva to Russia, which the only country which eve in a weak form decided to fight neoliberal world order and position itself as an anti-imperialist force... It is interesting to observe the current great moral confusion in political landscape of the societies in decay. Confusion which have been stimulated by Moscow actions. As the result some the far-right groups that are simultaneously anti-US that anti-Russian now support Moscow. Also some part of Russia far-right political groups got the sympathy and support of factions of the anti EU far right forces in France, the Nazis of the MSR in Spain, and from small groups of euro-asianists. This line of political affiliation will allow them to simply join the Russia failure [to find alternative to monopolar neoliberal capitalism] and might well discredit then more profoundly in the future.
  22. The euro-asianists forces technically speaking are reactionary forces, neoliberal forces which is comparable to the worst of the worst in the western world. Moreover, they do not have any way to solve the main contradictions that arise in the current neoliberal model in the terms of class and dominance of Anglo Zionist global elite.
  23. Euro-Asianism is just a suitable ideology for the construction of Russian national idea for those who seeks to achieve lease to life for Russia sovereignty on the world stage. It is the actual proof that Russia has come too late to globalised capitalism and fascism...
  24. Huttington and his war of civilizations cynically exploit this confrontation on Anglo Zionist elite and newcomers, redefining it along the idea of the clash of civilizations which avoid using the notion of class and thus is ideologically false. Alexander Duguin who promote similar ideas quite seriously just shows the degree of degeneration of the Russian intelligentsia, which oscillates between serving as comprador class to the global Anglo Zionist elite and the repetition (as a farce, and with 75 years of delay ) of fascist reactionary revolutions in Western Europe, which were phenomenon of the interwar period (rexistas in Belgium, Croix de feu in France, CruzFlechados in Hungary, Requetés and Falangistas in Spain).
  25. The globalist elite offered a solution formulated in class terms, as it could not be another way: in the best cases, they proposes the co-optation to a handful of members of the Russian elite as deserving members of the new global Hyperclass, but this path is opened only the very very rich, and the pre-condition is the delivery of the country to plunder, where the global elite certainly would have need of some compradors which will be more or less adequately compensated depending on their achievements and sacrifices in the name of global neoliberal domination.
  26. The part of the power elite of Russia, which managed to expel the western compradors of the Yeltsin era, and rein in the oligarchs then, had tried with some success to regain control of the territory of the country. The illusion of the members of this part of the power elite -- basically the security services, both civil and military, and various synergies of those with the military-industrial lobby -- is that it would be enough to neutralize the Russian fifth column of the Anglo Zionists to take back control of their territorial base of power. this idea is going to be shredded into pieces when it enter into contradiction with the reality of the class struggle and interests of the elite at the global level. Russia is, for its size, influence, and resources, so huge that a line of action based on the defense of its sovereignty strategic enters in collision with the global power of neoliberalism. And that why it attracts disproportional reaction of the Anglo Zionists
  27. Supporters of Anglo Zionists that are ready to consent to a German-Russian alliance or Russia-EU alliance that give the viability of a idea of mutually beneficial co-development of both Russia and Europe are forgetting that such an action would require European sovereignty. Which is was non-existent iether on the level of the EU, or on the level of member states. The penetration of the Atlantism in Europe is already systemic. In the old European states there are still ancient national traditions, which were based on the basis of cultural, industrial, economic, and political identity. And they still run strong. But in the current situation for such states there no space for the sovereignty as the dominant power bloc in the national elite as well as in EU elite are Atlantists. Where this situation takes the Russian elite and the Russian state without confrontation? A confrontation that they, on the other hand are not willing and are not able to pursue.
  28. The multi-polar capitalist world had its lifespan which come to an end (exploded) in 1914. In 2014, the globalization of the elites and the capital is of such magnitude that no serious resistance is possible on the basis of some capitalist model. In those conditions the idea of Russian elite ability to enforce change to multipolar version of the currently monopolar neoliberal world is doomed to be a failure.
  29. Zbigniew Brezinsky has raised things crudely and openly, unlike the ("fake") supporters of perestroika, and their current heirs in Russia. Brezinsky know how to think in terms of the class contradiction and knows perfectly well that the Russian oligarchy has directed its monetary flows abroad, moved families abroad, and moved their investments abroad. That means that Anglo Zionists can disrupt any claim of sovereignty over the territory and resources by simply pressing the local neoliberal elite, giving them to choose between their interests as a class and their illusionary desire for sovereignty. Because in a globalized world, with its brutal fight for the natural resources there is no possibility of maintaining both, except what can be achieved in terms of direct anti-imperialist struggle. There is no space for the national bourgeoisies in the XXI century. You can only have sovereignty if it is posed in terms of a rupture with the actually existing neoliberal order of global capitalism, which, in its core is Anglo Zionists globalization. This break does not have to be forced, but in terms of scientific analysis of the social processes is a logical consequence of following this path one way or the other. To claim sovereignty over their own resources and territory inevitably leads to confrontation, and logical needs a break up and confront the Anglo Zionist empire. If you really want to achieve the goal. And that fact imposes the logic of the relationships and balance of power in the world today.
  30. The claims of the BRIC countries -- to the extent that you do not question them -- is that they have an alternative model to the dominant neoliberal capitalism model (Ango Zionist globalization with the center in the USA) are doomed to be a failure. The efforts of the BRIC countries can generate a lot of noise and discomfort for the West, but they can not break the global neoliberal system. Those countries are rightfully fearful of their budget balances -- which are very fragile. It can be even said that they are on their way to implosion sooner or later, due to the unbalanced structure of their internal classes, including first of all their own elite.
  31. The claim that it is possible to achieve the multipolar capitalist world (which Russia defends) and which led to current Ukrainian crisis without confrontation is false. As soon as Russia wanted to return to the global chessboard. as an independent player, they instantly saw opponents attacking weak elements of their defense at the borders. Ukraine has been a defeat for Russia and the Crimea is not a adequate compensation for loss of Ukraine. Now Novorossia is being sacrificed precisely because the class contradictions that have emerged in Moscow and lack of desire of Russian elite to go the bitter end.
  32. The situation in the Donbas / Novorossia clearly shows the resignation of Moscow to the victory, and their desire to avoid the clash with neoliberal world order. The fact is that Royal Dutch Shell has already begun the fracking in the Donbas, the coup regime in Kiev are already internationally accepted without reservations, the truce imposed in Novorossia has brought to its knees the armed resistance to junta. All this leads way to deliver Novorossia to the hands of mafias sponsored by the local oligarchs with friends in Kiev and Moscow.
  33. Statement that the destiny of Russia was played in the Donbas is something more than a phrase, It is a claim based on a reality, as the defeat of Novorossia would be the proof that Moscow had not the will to struggle. The betrayal of the fighters and the hopes of Novorossia is the acceptance of the defeat and might lead in the future to the victory to the Moscow Maidan, the same alliance of compradors and nationalists using which as storm troopers the globalist elite achieved their goal in Ukraine. If Novorossia is defeated, they can expect being able to push a puppet into the Kremlin the same way. And not without reason. This summer, the heroic struggle of the militia of the Donbas was the key element that forced the changes of the script designed for Kiev as well as diminished chances of successful application of the same methods in Moscow. The Minsk Agreements and the truce imposed by them are putting Novorossia on its knees, allowing for its destruction, but this time at the hands of their allies. Sad spectacle for the Russian security services, which were effective enough to organize the Donbas resistance, but now are useless and powerless before the neofascist Kiev junta.
  34. The struggle of the Donbas does not correspond to the strategic interests of the Russian elite. They have been forced to intervene to prevent the horror of the mass murder of the population of the Donbas at the hands of the extreme right. But the dream of a Donbas free of oligarchs and with a sovereign state, committed to social justice for workers on this Slavic land are completely incompatible with the post-soviet status quo. Only to the extent that there is a significant faction of Russian elite aware of the contradictions of the global neoliberal game and who put their sense of patriotism first can lead them to face the challenge that they face. Only in this case there would be any possibility of resistance; I would say patriotic resistance, because we already know no one at the top is able to think in terms of class.
  35. While very unlikely - there can be a move from February to October in Novorossia. You would say impossible. But he insurrection of the Donbas in March, logically was "February". In order to achieve victory, to take full control over the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk needs creation of the Revolutionary Military Council and suspension of the upcoming elections. which looking to be a smokescreen for capitulation to junta. They need to declare that they are ready to resist to the end. This output would be desperate move, without a doubt, and would represent the equivalent of a new "October". The event which of it occurs would force Moscow to show their cards to their own population. And perhaps it can help to generate a pulse necessary for the organization of the fight with Anglo Zionists empire between the towers of the Kremlin. That would move the fight toward more patriotic and popular goals, But this presuppose a lot of assumptions and first of all that such a "Kremlin tower", which is capable of emitted such a pulse, exists. Only in this case we can talk about achieving a real sovereignty. As Vasily Záitsev in Stalingrad suggested: "Maybe we're doomed, but for the moment we are still the masters and lords of our land." In Novorossia there are plenty of fighters who would agree with Záitsev, but they certainly lack political direction and, now the lack the support of Kremlin.
  36. The Russian objective is achieving a multipolar capitalism with a Russia united under a nationalist ideology based on the manipulation of patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths. This objective is being challenged by the reality of the conflict, which should be defined in terms of geopolitical goals. The reality is that the Russian elite would be allowed to control their population as they wish, provided they renounce its sovereignty over territory and resources, renounce their physical power base, i.e. homeland. This is the nature of the challenge. Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books. There is not enough incense in the Kremlin cathedrals to mask that reality.”

Demonization of Putin as part of Russophobia

The Demonization of Putin is Not a Policy.
It is an Alibi for the Absence of One

Henry Kissinger

Now let's discuss attempts to demonize Putin by Western MSM. They can be understood only in context of rabid Russophobia of US neocons and their poodles in GB and other Western countries (especially in Germany).

Being tactful of Putin is one thing that I would not criticize the US press for ;-). If only because the track record disqualify them from lecturing, but because one simple fact: I remember how they covered the Chechen disaster and how they covered Iraq invasion by the USA. I strongly dislike Chechen war, as do most Russians. However, it is true that Chechen fundamentalists financed by Saudis have killed hundreds of Caucasian and Russian civilians and were a real threat to the Russian society, whereas the Iraqis were no practical threat to the USA.

Another problem with demonizing Putin is that no one in the US political system is willing to criticize the policies of Boris Yeltsin, which ruined the majority of Russian people, falsified elections and included criminals in his inner circle under close guidance of the USA. Sometime it looks to me that the real Axis of Evil runs somewhere between K Street and Constitution Avenue.

And in addition most of US neocons who dominated the USA foreign policy establishment sincerely consider themselves the only game in town. While understanding very little, or absolutely nothing about other countries. And that is statement is equally applicable to neocons dominated MSM such as NYT and Wash Post. American exeptionalism is uniquely blinding phenomenon.

It is actually pretty sad to read the infinite low of articles written without any desire to understand the complex situation in modern Russia. Neocons analytics in regard to Russia is nauseating propaganda. The logic behind such articles is invariably hostile. Moscow either weak or repressive or both. If Moscow sees some processes as a threat, it is racist, if it just lets it happen, it is weak.

No good solution for Russia ever exists according to these people. And it would be better for Russia and the rest of the world if it disappears from the face of Earth as quickly as possible.

See Demonization of Putin for more details.

Apartheid regime in Baltic countries as part of Russophobia campaign launched after dissolution of the USSR

Another influential part of world Russophobic community are Apartheid regimes established in Baltic countries with the direct help of the USA government and, especially, USA emigrant organizations. Western Ukraine also fit this scenario (after EuroMaidan putsch Western Ukrainian when far right nationalists came to power).

Baltic countries refuse to provide citizenship to people of different ethnicity who lawfully lived in them during the USSR period (which lasted half a century or so). Here is an insightful take on Russophobia from veteran Novosty journalist by Pyotr Romanov

A Dispassionate View on Russophobia

10/04/2006

Ability to write about Russophobia dispassionately is similar to the ability to maintain dignity when somebody unexpectedly poor a dirty water all over your head. However, as far as possible, try to talk about this phenomenon, no offense. We will not resent the fact that the "Russian, according to British press - the most stupid in the world." Smile at the argument that the "war against Napoleon won the non-Russian, and lice." We will not discuss with the Japanese man in the street, which feels an antipathy to us, among other things because all the cold storms come on the street it from Russia.

Forget about the Finns, who, according to Western opinion polls, do not love us more than any foreigners. And this at a time when, according to domestic opinion polls, that the Finns have the highest Russian sympathies.

What to do: love evil. In short, keep yourself in hand. It is better to remember the words of George Nathaniel Curzon Marquis, Viceroy of India and at the time the British Foreign Minister: "Every Englishman comes to Russia as Russophobe, and left as a Russophile" This means that in the basis of antipathy towards the Russian lies ignorance and myths. Partly born of life itself, partly by skillful professionals employed by our political opponents: there is such a thing as information warfare. And this is not limited to the Soviet period, but can be traced since ancient times. The disappearance of the Soviet Union did not affect Russophobia much. "New Thinking", which Gorbachev dreamed about never materialized. There is also historical memory. If we talk about ethnophobias, this is an inexhaustible source of poisoned water.

We can present many additional examples, but even from what has been said above, it is clear that the problem is multifaceted and so deeply ingrained in the mind of a typical Western person (to say nothing about establishment -- NNB) that for Russians it is better to forget about an illusion that it can be cured or even drastically changed. Each countermeasure is only a palliative solution.

Thus we should not deceive ourselves - any countermeasure is only palliative. Russophobia glow can be reduced, but to end it might be impossible as is the case with other ethnophoibias.

However, even to lower the level of Russophobia is a difficult undertaking which requires considerable intellectual efforts and financial investments. In addition, the Russian professionals in the field of foreign media (or propaganda, sorry for such old-fashioned word) are long time already listed in the "red book". After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new government decided that the professionals who know how to work with foreign media are no longer needed, everything will be done automatically: our friends Bill and Helmut will help. In extreme cases, retired professionals can be without problems replaced by the young and energetic sneakers merchants. It did not happen. Meanwhile, the bad image of Russia means for the country significant economic and political losses.

When it comes to Russophobia, the questions usually turns out to be a surplus, but the answers, even the most sophisticated, almost always may be subject to reasoned criticism. This is further evidence of the complexity and ambiguity of the problem. For example, surveys carried out by foreigners, record that in recent years the attitude to the Russian in almost all countries around the world deteriorated. It would seem that there is nothing to rejoice, meanwhile, history has repeatedly argued that a weakened Russia is far less negative feelings abroad than Russia on the path to recovery, when she, like Phoenix, once again rises from the ashes. Thus, the sharp deterioration of perceptions of Russia by foreigners can simultaneously be a sign that Moscow is perusing a wrong policy, and, conversely, that is peruse absolutely correct policy. It is difficult to sort out.

By the way, if we were talking about the West here, it is curious to see how the West steps for many centuries on the same rake. Whenever Russia is experiencing the most difficult times, Western politicians, believing Russia is close to death, begin to seriously talk about her vivisection, and, conversely, when the "deceased" Russia suddenly opens his eyes, the West falls into mortal fear and hysteria. So it was during the Troubled Times, when the Poles, Swedes and British tried to split Russian lands apart. Under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, when Russia was still weakened Western Europe for the sake of preserving peace in its own backyard identified zones of expansion of the major European powers: our motherland, according to this "peace plan", was granted to the Swedes. The only thing that did not consider the German philosopher, mathematician, lawyer and theologian, Gottfried Leibniz -- the author of this ingenious plan -- the birth of Peter the Great. By the end of the reign of Peter Sweden ceased to be a great power, Russia become an empire, and a Russian soldier, frightened Europe to such hiccups, from which it can not escape for a long time.

Then there was the defeat in the Crimean War, which, as it seemed to many European politicians, forever cemented lag Russian from the outside world, but came to the liberal reforms of Alexander II, who once again raised Russia from its knees. Later there was a First World, revolution, civil war, and those event immediately generated Churchill plan to put an end to Russia once and forever, dismembering her to pieces. And this project also ended in failure, but instead came back scared the West Europeans almost to death, the Soviet Union.

Finally, the collapse of the USSR has created new hopes, and the emergence of a Russian helm of Putin produced a new disappointment: hatred intermixed with fear. Here are typical in the West, the view expressed by one of the Italian journalists: "The USSR is considered a country, lost forever. The recent emergence of Russia as a nation state was a bolt from the sky. " And that's madam did not know yet what order book of Russian defense enterprises in the past year increased by 61%, as recently reported by Russian President. Thunder would be simply deafening.

In short, we are dealing with a déjà vu all over gain: the same way foreign press treated Russia in Europe and after the Troubled Times and after the Crimean War, and after the Revolution of 1917 .

Of course, the fact that due to the fear of Russian bear whose jaws are in Europe, and the tail is located in the Far East, simultaneously flourish Russophobia, does not make Russians happy. But I personally, if we have to choose, prefer to have a strong Russia with a undesirable side effect in the form of Russophobia, than the Russian bear's skin over the fireplace in some western office, which the owner, proudly showing visitors, affectionately scratching behind his ear. Without experiencing any of Russophobia!

Are there any tools that would provide the West at least a middle ground between a pathological fear of Russian and not less pathological contempt for her? I think it is. All I will not enumerate them all. But one thing worth mentioning is mandatory. Necessary, finally, once and for all clear the historic debris, which is really to blame Russian. We can remember, say, Russian-Polish friction because of Katyn. The fact that Stalin's regime committed a crime, we know the whole world, but Russia, including the modern Russia, could not find the courage to tell the whole truth about the Polish tragedy. If you want to, once again apologize, and most importantly to pass, finally, Warsaw, all at our disposal documents. In the end, there are still living relatives of the victims, who have every right to know how their relatives died. Why this is not done until now, I can not understand, especially because the crime is committed not this generation, but fundamentally different, the Stalinist regime.

At the same time, giving the necessary debt, in my opinion, in any case we can not forget about our own claims. Unlike its neighbors, we all too easy to forgive, but it does not promote respect for Russia. Yes, there was Katyn. But until it was no less terrible fate of the Russian prisoners who fell into the hands of the Poles after the failure of the famous Tukhachevsky offensive of Warsaw. There are undeniable evidence how they treated those prisoners, both in Russia and the West. Division of assistance to POW in Poland of the American Union of Christian youth on October 20, 1920 noted that the Russian prisoners were kept in deplorable conditions: indoors, totally unsuitable for housing, with no furniture, sleeping aids, and most importantly - no glass in the windows, despite the cold. In the prisoners had no shoes, clothing, medicines, not enough medical personnel, food. All of the above, conclude U.S. observers, leads "to the rapid extinction of prisoners of war." Really dying by the thousands. No wonder the Lviv newspaper "Forward" December 22, 1920 calls Tuchola camp a "death camp". Thus, Katyn and Tuchola stand side by side. And it is necessary to treat this and ask the Poles of repentance for the brutal treatment of Russian. By the way, we should not have any illusion. About the same barbaric way the Red Army prisoners of war were treated, Baltic states treated the White Army Yudenich forces which retreat to their land. They allowed to passed then through the border in small groups, then confiscated all the weapon, after another mile all the valuables, and then clothes. So they beat is on the based on ideology but simply because they were Russians. Defending our ancestors who were subjected to abuse, we are seeking not only justice but also of self-respect. Man, do not mindful of kinship, respect is not deserved.

However, even if it has been said above about Russophobia, only a small drop in the cap or a smallest piece of a huge iceberg.

In addition, there is still the main problem, without deal with which all the fighting Russophobia is meaningless. This problem is ourselves: our standard of living, our culture, the development of our civil society, our internal and foreign policy, our military and economic power. Weak are always subject to humiliation: that is, unfortunately, human nature.

Any countermeasures -- although without them it situation might get worse -- no matter how sophisticated and skilled as they are, still no substitute for that, I'm talking about. So, first of all, to deal with all of us Russophobia requires a healthy and strong Russia. The fact that in this country and to live pleasantly, of course.

The old wisdom says, to be respected around, start to start to respect himself - a thing that you have created with their own hands.

And there, staring, reconsider their views on the Russian, even touchy Finns.

Coverage of Russia in Western MSMs resembles war propaganda

The Western media even before the Ukrainian Maidan was broadcast events in Russia exclusively in a negative way. Attempts are being made to discredit almost all Russian initiatives and projects, ranging from the Olympics to the elections of the President, etc. For the implementation of anti-Russian propaganda standard techniques of "projection" polished in color revolutions were used. That includes activization via NGOs of the opposition media and opposition figures within the country. The set of  "prisoners of conscience" was created from   academics, businessmen and politicians, who, for various reasons, wished to leave Russia for the West. Corrupt businessmen, who escaped to the West to avoid prosecution in Russia became prisoner of conscience and political oppositionist on the moment they cross the border. Anti-Russian propaganda aims in stressing civilizational, cultural, intellectual backwardness of Russia compared "advanced and enlightened" West.

The purpose of this propaganda "strangulation" of Russia is instituting "regime change" and bring to power the second generation of compradors. As well as further dismemberment of its territory. Some forms on internal conflict are supported as a part of destabilization strategy. With the ultimate goal of second partitioning of Russia and the emergence of new quasi-independent States.

To understand the coverage of Russia in western MSM one needs to understand the mechanisms of war propaganda. The latter is guided by the following postulates well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):

1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

This topic is discussed in more details elsewhere, but a good starting point is the book Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (1965/1973) by French philosopher, theologian, legal scholar, and sociologist Jacques Ellul. This book was one the first attempt to study propaganda from a sociological approach as well as a psychological one. It presents a taxonomy for propaganda methods, including such paired opposites as

During World War II, Ellul was a leader in the French resistance after being discharged as a professor from French universities by the Vichy regime. After France's liberation, he became professor at the University of Bordeaux. He authored 58 books and numerous articles over his lifetime, the dominant theme of which has been the threat to human freedom created by modern technology. In 1947, Ellul was appointed chair of law and social history at the Institut d'études politiques that increased his reputation as a social and political philosopher which led to the publication of his works in the United States. Here is an abridged Wikipedia summary:

Background of propaganda attacks against Russia

...."The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, inspired by Harold Lasswell" defined propaganda as "the expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations".[3]

This definition seemed more accurate and was supported by others such as Goebbels, a German propagandist, who stated, "We do not talk to say something, but to obtain a certain effect."[ Similarly F.C. Bartlett holds an accurate interpretation of the goal of propaganda as not merely as an instrument to increase political understanding of events, but to obtain results through action. Ellul supports the idea that propaganda is made primarily because of a will to action for the purpose of effectively arming policy made by the State. Leonard Doob, an American specialist, defined propaganda in 1948 as "the attempt to affect the personalities and to control the behavior of individuals towards desired ends."

Unending definitions show the uncertainty among specialists and the inability of definitions to encompass all that is propaganda. Just because the term propaganda cannot be defined with any degree of precision does not mean that attempts to define it should be abandoned.

"Very frequently propaganda is describe as a manipulation for the purpose of changing idea or opinions of making individuals 'believe' some idea or fact, and finally of making them adhere to some doctrine—all matters of the mind. It tries to convince, to bring about a decision, to create a firm adherence to some truth. This is a completely wrong line of thinking: to view propaganda as still being what it was in 1850 is to cling to an obsolete concept of man and of the means to influence him; it is to condemn oneself to understand nothing about propaganda. The aim of modern propaganda is no longer to modify ideas, but to provoke action. It is no longer to change adherence to a doctrine, but to make the individual cling irrationally to a process of action. It is no longer to transform an opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief."

...He holds that the main concern of propaganda through psychological influence is sparking action to a desired response by developing learned attitudes. ....

Summary of chapters

Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes is divided into five substantive chapters discussing Ellul’s analysis. Introduction

Regardless of the State, propaganda should be viewed as situated at the center of the growing powers of governmental and administrative techniques.

"Differences in political regimes matter little; differences in social levels are more important; and most important is national self-awareness. Propaganda is a good deal less the political weapon of a regime (it is that also) than the effect of a technological society that embraces the entire man and tends to be a completely integrated society. Propaganda stops man from feeling that things in society are oppressive and persuades him to submit with good grace."[7] Chapter One: Characteristics of Propaganda

Modern propaganda is a technique that requires an analysis of both environment and individual to be subjected to propaganda therefore it is based on scientific analyses of psychology and sociology. Sufficient understanding of these two areas creates the most effective propaganda and without the scientific research of modern psychology and sociology there would be no propaganda. "Step by step the propagandist builds the techniques on the basis of his knowledge of man, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his conditioning, and as much on social psychology as on depth psychology."[8] 1.Part One: External Characteristics

Propaganda is first and foremost concerned with influencing an individual psychologically by creating convictions and compliance through imperceptible techniques that are effective only by continuous repetition. Propaganda employs encirclement on the individual by trying to surround man by all possible routes, in the realm of feelings as well as ideas, by playing on his will or his needs through his conscious and his unconscious, and by assailing him in both his private and his public life.[9] The propagandist also acknowledges the most favorable moment to influence man is when an individual is caught up in the masses. Propaganda must be total in that utilizes all forms of media to draw the individual into the net of propaganda. Propaganda is designed to be continuous within the individual's life by filling the citizen’s entire day. It is based on slow constant impregnation that functions over a long period of time exceeding the individual’s capacities for attention or adaptation and thus his capabilities of resistance. In order for propaganda to maintain encirclement, it must be exerted by an organization capable of influencing psychological channels that reach the individual. Psychological and physical actions are inseparable elements to propaganda, however, if no influence is exerted by an organization than there can be no propaganda because it cannot operate in a vacuum. The necessity for a physical organization limits propaganda enterprises and in order to be effective propaganda must work inside a group, principally inside a nation. Propaganda must first organize the masses in order to propagandize within the masses. In general, propaganda is a set of methods employed by an organized group that wants to bring about the active or passive participation in its actions of a mass of individuals, psychologically unified through psychological manipulations and incorporated into an organization.[10] Propaganda should no longer be viewed in terms of an orthodoxy but rather modern propaganda should be seen as an orthopraxy because it aims for participation not adherence. Participation can be active or passive: active if propaganda has been able to mobilize the individual for action; passive if the individual does not act directly but psychologically supports that action. 2. Part Two: Internal Characteristics The second major element that a propagandist must understand is the environment in which the individual operates, mainly the foci of interest of the public. An understanding of the conventional patterns and stereotypes that pre-exist in a milieu provide the propagandist with material from which to build off. Propaganda is not able to create something out of nothing and is confined to developing pre-existing material thereby expressing the fundamental currents of the society it seeks to influence. These currents include accepted structures such as collective sociological presuppositions and myths that are fundamental to society.

"The Four Great Collective Sociological Presuppositions in the Modern World: 1.That an individual's aim in life is happiness. 2.That man is naturally good. 3.That history develops in endless progress. 4.That everything is matter.

The Collective Myths: 1.of Work 2.of Happiness 3.of the Nation 4.of Youth 5.of the Hero"[11]

These currents reinforce socieand hold man’s mjor convictions and propa ganda must voice this reality. Propaganda is concerned with timeliness since an individual is only moved to action if he is pushed towards a timely one by propaganda. Once it becomes history it inevitably becomes neutral and indifferent to the individual who is sensitive primarily to current news. "Operational words" are used to penetrate an individual’s indifference. However they lose their value as immediacy passes as old facts are replaced by new ones. The "current events man" is carried along the current of news and caught in the events of today, losing interest in the events of yesterday. The indifferent are apolitical and without opinion, therefore they are outside of propaganda’s grasp. Incidentally, there are also the undecided, people whose opinions are vague, who form the majority of citizens within the collective. These citizens are the most susceptible to control of public opinion that is dictated by propaganda. Lastly, this part discusses propaganda and truth or the ability of propaganda to relay something as true based not on the accuracy of facts but of reality. Propaganda veils the truth with falsehoods even though lying is generally to be avoided. 3. Part Three: Categories of Propaganda Presented in this chapter is a sophisticated taxonomy for propaganda, including such paired opposites as political-sociological, vertical-horizontal, rational-irrational, and agitation-integration.

Political vs. Sociological Propaganda:

Political Propaganda involves techniques of influence employed by a government, a party, an administration, or a pressure group with the intention of changing the behavior of the public. The themes and objectives of this type of propaganda are of a political nature. The goals are determined by the government, party, administration, or pressure group. The methods of political propaganda are calculated in a precise manner and its main criteria is to disseminate an ideology for the very purpose of making various political acts acceptable to the people.[12] There are two forms of political propaganda, tactical and strategic. Tactical political propaganda seeks to obtain immediate results within a given framework. Strategic political propaganda is not concerned with speed but rather it establishes the general line, the array of arguments, and the staging of campaigns.

Political propaganda reversed is sociological propaganda because the ideology is penetrated by means of its sociological context. Propaganda, as it is traditionally known, implies an attempt to spread an ideology through the mass media of communication in order to lead the public to a desired action. In sociological propaganda even media that are not controllable such as individual art work, films, and writing reflect the ideology allowing for an accelerated penetration of the masses and the individuals within them.[13]

Sociological propaganda is a phenomenon where a society seeks to integrate the maximum number of individuals into itself by unifying its members’ behavior according to a pattern, spreading its style of life abroad, and thus imposing itself on other groups. Essentially sociological propaganda aims to increase conformity with the environment that is of a collective nature by developing compliance with or defense of the established order through long term penetration and progressive adaptation by using all social currents. The propaganda element is the way of life with which the individual is permeated and then the individual begins to express it in film, writing, or art without realizing it. This involuntary behavior creates an expansion of society through advertising, the movies, education, and magazines. "The entire group, consciously or not, expresses itself in this fashion; and to indicate, secondly that its influence aims much more at an entire style of life."[14] This type of propaganda is not deliberate but springs up spontaneously or unwittingly within a culture or nation. This propaganda reinforces the individual’s way of life and represents this way of life as best. Sociological propaganda creates an indisputable criterion for the individual to make judgments of good and evil according to the order of the individual’s way of life. Sociological propaganda does not result in action, however, it can prepare the ground for direct propaganda. From then on, the individual in the clutches of such sociological propaganda believes that those who live this way are on the side of the angels, and those who don’t are bad.[15]

Vertical vs. Horizontal Propaganda: Vertical propaganda is similar to direct propaganda that aims at the individual in the mass and is renewed constantly. However, in horizontal propaganda there is no top down structure but rather it springs up from within the group. It involves meticulous encirclement that traps an individual involuntarily in dialectic. The individual is led unfailingly to its adherence by talking about the dialectic until the individual discovers the answer that was set up unconsciously for him to find. Schools are a primary mechanism for integrating the individual into the way of life.

Rational vs. Irrational Propaganda:

Propaganda is addressed to the individual on the foundation of feelings and passions which are irrational, however, the content of propaganda does address reason and experience when it presents information and furnishes facts making it rational as well. It is important for propaganda to be rational because modern man needs relation to facts. Modern man wants to be convinced that by acting in a certain way he is obeying reason in order to have self justification. The challenge is creating an irrational response on the basis of rational and factual elements by leaving an impression on an individual that remains long after the facts have faded away. Individuals are not compelled to act based facts but rather on emotional pressure, the vision of the future, or the myth.

Agitation vs. Integration propaganda: Propaganda of agitation seeks to mobilize people in order to destroy the established order and/or government. It seeks rebellion by provoking a crisis or unleashing explosive movements during one. It momentarily subverts the habits, customs, and beliefs that were obstacles to making great leap forward by addressing the internal elements in each of us. It eradicates the individual out of his normal framework and then proceeds to plunge him into enthusiasm by suggesting extraordinary goals which nevertheless seem to him completely within reach. However, this enthusiasm can only last a short duration so the objective must be achieved quickly followed by a period of rest. People cannot be kept at in a "state of perpetual enthusiasm and insecurity". Rebellion is incited by the propagandist who knows that hate is one of the most profitable resources when drawn out of an individual. Agitation propaganda is usually thought of as propaganda in that it aims to influence people to act. Integration propaganda, on the other hand, is a more subtle form that aims to reinforce cultural norms. This is sociological in nature because it provides stability to society by supporting the "way of life" and the myths within a culture. It is propaganda of conformity that requires participation in the social body. This type of propaganda is more prominent and permanent, yet it is not as recognized as agitation propaganda because it is more permanent manner. Basically, agitation propaganda provides the motive force when needed and when not needed integration propaganda provides the context and backdrop. Chapter Two: The Condition for the Existence of Propaganda

The nature of propaganda has changed over the course of time and yet it is evident that propaganda cannot exist without a milieu. The emergence of propaganda is interconnected with technology and scientific discoveries yet it can only appear and grow under certain conditions. Several events have occurred that have furthered propaganda by increasing its ability in depth and discovering new methods. Modern propaganda could not exist without the mass media or modern means of transportation which permit crowds of diverse individuals from all over to assemble easily and frequently. 1.Part One: The Sociological Conditions

Society must contain elements of both an individualist society and a mass society. Propaganda aims to capture both the mass and the individual at the same time through this dual type of society. A mass society is based on individuals that are reduced to ciphers based on what they have in common to others. First conditions for growth and development of modern propaganda: it emerged in Western Europe in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth precisely because that was when society was becoming increasingly individualistic and its organic structures were breaking down. Individuals without natural organic local groups are defenseless and more likely to be caught up in a social current. On the other hand, a mass society has considerable population density in which local structures and organizations are weak, currents of opinion are strongly felt creating a certain psychological unity, and individuals are organized into large and influential collectives. Mass society is characterized by uniformity and material life despite differences of environment. Once a mass society is created, public opinion will begin to play a role to help individuals form their own personal opinion. Public opinion can only express itself through channels which are provided by the mass media of communication without which there could be no propaganda. Yet it is important that mass media be subject to centralized control in order to successfully form public opinion without any opposition. Again Ellul mentions that the individual must be caught in wide net of media through all channels. Once opinion has been formed, propaganda is able to reinforce it and transform opinion into action. 2. Part Two: Objective Conditions of Total Propaganda Propaganda thrives off of what individuals have in common with others to develop patterns of behavior and modify cultural opinions. Total propaganda recognizes that within a nation individuals should all have in common a standard of living, a culture, and an ideology. The need of an average standard of living is that people must be able to afford to buy a radio, TV, a newspaper, or go to the movies. It is mostly concerned with the densest mass which is made up of average men and not the very rich or very poor. Poor cannot do this therefore they cannot be subjected to integration propaganda because the immediate concerns of daily life absorb all their capacities and efforts. The poor can only be subjected to agitation propaganda, excited to the point of theft and murder. But they cannot be trained by propaganda, kept in hand, channeled, and oriented. More advanced propaganda can influence only a man who is not completely haunted by poverty, a man who can view things from a certain distance and be reasonably unconcerned about his daily bread, who therefore can take an interest in more general matters.

"For propaganda to be effective the propagandee must have a certain store of ideas and a number of conditioned reflexes that can only be acquired through peace of mind springing from relative security. The establishment of a mode of common life- all this leads to the creation of a type of normal man conveniently leads all men toward that norm via a multitude of paths. Propaganda’s intent is to integrate people into the normal pattern prevailing in society bring about conformance to way of life. To sum up: The creation of normalcy in our society can take one of two shapes. It can be the result of scientific, psycho-sociological analysis based on statistics- that is the American type of normalcy. It can be ideological and doctrinaire- that is the Communist type. But the results are identical: such normalcy necessarily gives rise to propaganda that can reduce the individual to the pattern most useful to society."[16]

"Information" Is an essential element of propaganda, which must "have reference to political or economic reality" to be credible. In fact, no propaganda can work until the moment when a set of facts has become a problem in the eyes of those who constitute public opinion." Education permits the dissemination of propaganda in that it enables people to consume information. Information is indistinguishable from propaganda in that information is an essential element of propaganda because for propaganda to succeed it must have reference to political or economic reality. Propaganda grafts itself onto an already existing reality through "informed opinion". Where no informed opinion with regard to political or economic affairs propaganda cannot exist making it an indispensable aspect. Propaganda means nothing without preliminary information that provides the basis for propaganda, gives propaganda the means to operate, and generates the problems that propaganda exploits by pretending to offer solutions. It is through information that the individual is placed in a social context and learns to understand the reality of his own situation. Information allows us to evaluate our situation feel our own personal problems are a general social problem thus enabling propaganda to entice us into social and political action. Information is most effective when it is objective and broad because it creates a general picture. With information quantity is better than quality, the more political or economic facts believed to be mastered by an individual, the more sensitive their judgment is to propaganda. In fact, only in and through propaganda do the masses have access to political economy, politics, art, or literature. The more stereotypes in a culture, the easier it is to form public opinion, and the more an individual participates in that culture, the more susceptible he becomes to the manipulation of these symbols. Chapter Three: The Necessity for Propaganda

All propaganda is based on a need, a dual need, first there is the need of state to make it and second there is the need of propagandee to receive it. These two needs compliment and correspond to each other in the development of propaganda. Propaganda is an expression of modern society as a whole. 1.Part One: The State's Necessity

The State has the need to make propaganda to integrate citizens into its society, to disseminate information, and to increase participation and involvement of members of society. Sometimes the people want to take part in government affairs. However, the official leaders cannot disconnect themselves from what the people want. Being that the people in charge cant escape the people , bait must be presented to them. This acts as a disguise that must be there to hide what is really happening behind the scenes in the government . Citizens are aware that political decisions affect everybody and governments cannot govern without the support, presence, pressure, or knowledge of the people. Yet the people are incapable of making long term policy so opinion must be created to follow the government because the government cannot be led by opinion. All of this describes the "Mass-Government" relationship characterized by people demanding what has already been decided, in order to appear as though the government is actually caring about what the people need. The next part that the book discuss is psychological warfare. It is believed to be a peace policy that is used between nations as a form of aggression. This type of propaganda changes the public opinion of an opposing regime so that it can be in favor of there regime. 2. Part Two: The Individual’s Necessity The individual needs propaganda to gain satisfaction as a member of society. Individuals want to be informed and to participate in the decisions of the state. Propaganda is the outlet through which individuals obtain the satisfaction of having contributed to the state. It is a necessary instrument of a state or institution to spread information to members of the group or society. But for propaganda to succeed it must respond to a need on the individual’s part as well. The individual is by no means just an innocent victim of propaganda when in fact he provokes the psychological action of propaganda by not merely lending himself to it, but also from deriving satisfaction from it. It is strictly a sociological phenomenon, in the sense that it has its roots and reasons in the need of the group that will sustain it. The great role performed by propaganda is in its ability to give the people the involvement they crave or the illusion of it in order for the masses to be artificially satisfied. Individuals are faced with decisions which require a range of information that the individual does not and cannot have without propaganda. Thus, the individual is unable to accept that he cannot form opinion on his own and is caught between his desire and his inability. People are willing and likely to accept propaganda that allows them to artificially satisfy their desire to have an opinion by hiding their incompetence. The individual does not mind being given preconceived positions because otherwise he would realize that he does not understand the problems of the modern world. The individual would then realize that he "depends on situations of which he has no control" and have to face this reality. The individual cannot live in the state of this harsh reality so he derives satisfaction from the veil created by the ideology and the sense of values it provides. The individual need psychological and ideological reasons why he needs to be where he is and propaganda is the mechanism that the state uses for this very purpose. Chapter Four: Psychological Effects of Propaganda

The psychological effects of propaganda on an individual cannot be ignored. The individual undergoes profound changes while being propagandized mainly the diminishment of personal activity. "Propaganda furnishes objectives, organizes the traits of an individual into a system, and freezes them into a mold by standardizing current ideas, hardening the prevailing stereotypes, and furnishing thought patterns in all areas."[17] The individual is traumatized by the overwhelming force of propaganda that intensifies the prejudices and beliefs until eventually the individual has no control over his own impulses. It seeks to push the individual into the mass until his will fades entirely into that of the mass. Individuality is sacrificed for the greater cause of the nation by uniting him and blending him with others. Critical and personal judgment are subdued and replaced with ready-made attitudes and opinions. Discernment is made nearly impossible for the individual whose ability to judge is destroyed making him dependent on propaganda’s ready-made opinions from then on. The individual can no longer exercise his own judgment and becomes honed into what propaganda tells him. He no longer expresses himself but his group once he accepts public opinion as his own. The artificial, impersonal public opinion created by propaganda is absorbed by the individual and he becomes filled with its conviction. When he is fully integrated in the social group and can no longer distinguish between himself and society than he has reached total alienation. In this process, the individual’s personal inclinations lead to participation in the collective where he loses control and submits to external impulses. The individual is suppressed psychologically so that he can continue to live under the conditions in which society places him by providing an artificial and unreal reality that is the result of powerful propaganda. Chapter Five: The Socio-Political Effects

"In the nineteenth century, the problem of opinion formation through the expression of thought was essentially a problem of contacts between the State and the individual, and a problem of acquisition of freedom. But today, thanks to the mass media, the individual finds himself outside the battle that is now between the State and powerful groups. The freedom to express ideas is no longer at stake in this debate but it has been replaced by mastery and domination by the State or some powerful groups over the formation of opinion. The individual is not in the battle because he is the stake and the battle will determine what voice he will be permitted to hear and which words will have the power to obsess him."[18] 1.Part One: Propaganda and Ideology

An ideology provides society certain beliefs and no social group can exist without the foundation of these beliefs. Propaganda is the means by which an ideology can expand without force. An ideology is either fortified within a group or expanded beyond the borders of a group through propaganda. However, propaganda is less and less concerned with spreading the ideology nowadays as it is with becoming autonomous. The ideology is no longer the decisive factor of propaganda that must be obeyed by the propagandist. The propagandist cannot be constrained by the ideology of his State but must operate in service of the state and be able to manipulate the ideology as if it were an object. The ideology merely provides the content for the propagandist to build off since he is limited to what already is present within the group, nation, or society. The fundamental ideologies are nationalism, socialism, communism, and democracy. 2. Part Two: Effects on the Structure of Public Opinion Public opinion is an instrument of propaganda that is disseminated through the mass media of communication to the masses. While most people view the formation of public opinion as being shaped itself by interaction between different viewpoints on controversial questions, this is incorrect because public opinion is delineated by propaganda as a "truth" which is either believed or not believed. Public opinion ceases to be controversial and can no longer form itself except through channels of mass media. No opinion can be held until it is communicated to the masses through mass media. Propaganda uses public opinion to externalize inner opinions of the organization to the masses that eventually produces conformity.[19] 3. Part Three: Propaganda and Grouping In regards to propaganda, there are two groups: the groups that make propaganda and the groups that are subjected to propaganda. In Ellul's view, there is a "double foray on the part of propaganda that proves the excellence of one group and the evilness of another at the same time to create partitioning". This creates isolation between groups by promoting allegiance to the group one is in and suppressing conversation between groups. The more they listen to their propaganda the stronger their beliefs and the greater their justifications for their actions. Partitioning takes place on many different levels including class, religious, political, national and blocs of nations. A superior group is able to affect the lesser groups, however, groups that have an equal amount of influence will only separate further from one another in that a members allegiance to a group develops closed mindedness. Well-organized propaganda is able to work with different elements that exist within a nation such as religion, political parties, and labor groups. 4. Part Four: Propaganda and Democracy Since democracy depends on public opinion, it is clear that propaganda must be involved. The relationship between democracy and propaganda evidently presents a conflict between the principles of democracy and the processes of propaganda. The individual is viewed as the cornerstone of a democracy which is a form of government that is made "for the people and by the people". However, as discussed in early chapters Ellul described the masses are incapable of making long-term foreign policy and the government needs to make these decisions in a timely manner. This is where propaganda comes into play and projects an artificial reality to the masses to satisfy their need to participate in government while the decisions are really made behind the scenes. This was also describe earlier as the "mass-government" relationship. Democratic regimes develop propaganda in line with its myths and prejudices. Propaganda stresses the superiority of a democratic society while intensifying the prejudices between democratic and oppressive.

Major themes

Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes builds on prior notions of propaganda to demonstrate that while propaganda is psychological in nature it is just as much sociological in nature as well. Propaganda is not just embedded into the individual's psyche but also the cultural psyche. Propaganda works off the inner characteristics of both the individual and the society that the individual belongs. This thorough analysis made by Ellul illustrates that to downplay the importance of the sociological influences of propaganda to psychological ones is a dreadful error. Propaganda is more threatening when it begins to be recognized as sociological as well psychological in nature. Below are two major themes the first stressing the psychological aims of propaganda the second the sociological aims.

"The Lonely Crowd"

The term "lonely crowd" is used by Ellul to distinguish the two inseparable elements of propaganda, the individual and the masses, which must be addressed by the propagandist at the same time. As an isolated unit, the individual is of no interest to the propagandist unless he is reduced to an average. It is crucial that the individual is never considered as an individual but always in terms of what he has in common with others. The individual is included and integrated into the mass because the propagandist profits from the process of diffusion of emotions through the mass, and at the same time, from the pressures felt by an individual when in a group.[20]

In this setting, "the individual caught up in the mass", the individual's reactions are easier to provoke and psychic defenses are weakened. The individual must always be considered as a participant in a mass and similarly the mass must only be viewed as a crowd composed of individuals. When propaganda is addressed to the crowd, it must touch each individual in that crowd which is in fact nothing but assembled individuals. Conversely, the individual should not be viewed as alone as a listener, watcher, or reader because the individual is nevertheless part of an invisible crowd though he is actually alone. The most favorable moment to influence an individual is when he is alone in the mass, the structure of the mass is extremely profitable to the propagandist concerned with being effective.

Fundamental currents in society

"One cannot make just any propaganda any place for anybody."[21] While propaganda is focused on reaching the individual, it cannot only rely on building off what already exists in the individual. Propaganda must also attach itself to the pre-existing fundamental currents of the society it seeks to influence. The propagandist must know the current tendencies and the stereotypes among the public he is trying to reach. These are indicated by principal symbols of the culture the propagandist wishes to attack since these symbols express the attitudes of a particular culture. Individuals are part of a culture and are therefore psychologically shaped by that culture. The main task of propaganda is to utilize the conditioned symbols as transmitters of that culture to serve its purpose. Propaganda must be a reflection of the fundamental structures of society to be successful and not contradictory of existing opinions. A skillful propagandist does not try to change mass opinion or go against an accepted structure. Only a bad propagandist would make a direct attack on an established, reasoned, durable opinion, accepted cliché, or fixed pattern. "Each individual harbors a large number of stereotypes and established tendencies; from this arsenal the propagandist must select those easiest to mobilize, those which will give the greatest strength to the action he wants to precipitate."[22]

While propaganda cannot create something out of nothing, it does have the ability to build on the foundation already established. More importantly even though it does not create new material and is confined to what already exists, it is not necessarily powerless. "It can attack from the rear, war own slowly, provide new centers of interest, which cause the neglect of previously acquired positions; it can divert a prejudice; or it can elicit an action contrary to an opinion held by the individual without his being clearly aware of it."[23]

Propaganda can gradually undermine prejudices and images in order to weaken them. These fundamental currents in society create the perfect atmosphere for sociological propaganda which influences the individual through his customs and unconscious habits. Sociological propaganda is a phenomenon where a society tries to unify its members’ behavior according to a pattern. Essentially sociological propaganda is to increase conformity with the environment that is of a collective nature by developing compliance with or defense of the established order through long term penetration and progressive adaptation by using all social currents. The propaganda element is the way of life with which the individual is permeated and then the individual begins to express it in film, writing, or art without realizing it. This involuntary behavior creates an expansion of society through advertising, the movies, education, and magazines. "The entire group, consciously or not, expresses itself in this fashion; and to indicate, secondly that its influence aims much more at an entire style of life."[24] This type of propaganda is not deliberate but springs up spontaneously or unwittingly within a culture or nation. This propaganda reinforces the individual’s way of life and represents this way of life as best.

See also [edit] Brainwashing Conformity Ideology Indoctrination Media manipulation Mind control Propaganda Psychological manipulation Psychological warfare Social Influence Socially constructed reality

British propaganda is especially sophisticated and nasty. See In Foreign Events Coverage The Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Anatomy of US sanctions against Russia

The USA administration, and especially neocons, entrenched in State Department, organized putsch in Kiev with the help of their European satellites. When the civil war started as the result of the putsch the USA introduced sanctions against Russia. See "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place

Tremendous pressure exerted on Russia by the West, largely intended to show the subjects of world politics undesirability of implementing an independent foreign policy. Washington and its satellites in Europe through sanctions are trying to demonstrate their ability to isolate the "offending" countries from the global economy and technical progress by controlling supplies of high technology equipment. However, analysis of the accusations against Russia suggests that both the USA Europe are dominated by neoliberals/neocons who themselves are divorced from the realities of the current processes and looks at the world through the eyes of the early 90th then neoliberalism enjoyed its triumphal march in Eastern Europe and xUSSR space.

After 2008  neoliberalism entered so called zombie stage. It is still very powerful and very dangerous, but ideology of neoliberalism, like ideology of Marxism before is now looks like  perishable goods with expired date of consumption. In no way it is not attractive anymore. Events like enforcing Greece debt slavery by Germany and France only increase the reaction of rejection. 

And that's despite all economic power the USA definitely possesses and success in implementing economic sanctions which drove the Russia GDP growth into negative rages presents huge challenge for the USA. One of the best option the USA elites are pushing is the limited war in Europe that can weaken both EU and Russia. So in a way the putsch in Kiev was anti-EU measure, as Victoria Nuland famous quote suggests.

Sanctions, as damaging  as they are, suggest that the empire lost diplomatic skills. And there is no question that  economic weapons are as close to the act of war as you can get.  See Cold War II. As Patrick Buchanan notes (ecnomicpolicyjournal.com, April 28, 2014):

"Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin's Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world ... and effectively making it a pariah state."

So wrote Peter Baker in Sunday's New York Times. Yet if history is any guide, this "pariah policy," even if adopted, will not long endure.

Three years after Khrushchev sent tanks into Hungary, he
was touring the USA and celebrating with Ike the new "Spirit of Camp David."

Half a year after Khrushchev moved missiles into Cuba, JFK was talking detente is his famous speech at American University.

Three weeks after Moscow incited the Arabs in the Six-Day War, Lyndon Johnson was meeting with Premier Alexei Kosygin in New Jersey, where the "Spirit of Glassboro," was born.

So it went through the Cold War. Post-crises, U.S. presidents reached out to Soviet leaders. For they saw Russia as too large and too powerful to be isolated and ostracized like North Korea.

The sustained expansion of economic sanctions, especially  against the oil and gas sector and specific companies as well as limited access to credit resources indicate the seriousness of the Western establishment to deprive Russia of the economic growth and the ability to protect its own economic interests.



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[Mar 28, 2020] The Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine reportedly plans to arrest two prominent recent members of the parliament and far right activists on charges of their involvement in the Maidan massacre. The Ukrainian media reports that Parasiuk has already disappeared.

Mar 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

1union , Mar 28 2020 0:40 utc | 69

As reported by Ivan Katchanovski on Facebook:

The Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine reportedly plans to arrest two prominent recent members of the parliament and far right activists on charges of their involvement in the Maidan massacre.

The Ukrainian media reports citing anonymous sources in the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine that they plan to charge Volodymyr Parasiuk with the massacre of the Berkut policemen on February 20, 2014, and Tetiana Chornovol with a deadly arson of the Party of Regions office that resulted in killing of a computer admin there on February 18, 2014.

My studies concerning the Maidan massacre and the far right in Ukraine found that the Parasiuk-led company of Maidan snipers was involved in the Maidan massacre and that Chornovol and far right Maidan activists were involved in this deadly arson attack that involved the far right.

Both of them were hailed by the Ukrainian and even some Western media and politicians as Maidan and national heroes, while their involvement in the Maidan massacre and the far right background were deliberately ignored or denied. Parasiuk was affiliated with the far right Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and Svoboda before the Maidan and was a company commander in the Right Sector-led Dnipro paramilitary battalion after the Maidan. Chornovol was an activist of the far right UNA-UNSO before the Maidan and in the Fatherland/Peoples Front during and after the Maidan. The Ukrainian media reports that Parasiuk has already disappeared.

[Mar 25, 2020] A Brand New Military What an ass!

Mar 25, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Just heard the orange god deliver this line at the daily CODIV-19 task force briefing. For this fool, the military is a pile of new "stuff," He bought it, he paid for the "stuff" so, he has created a "brand new military." What about the people who served throughout the miserably stupid war in Iraq and the equally stupid post 2009 attempt to pacify Afghanistan, a country that never was and never will be. Think of the money and blood that we pissed away there. Even the Pompous one sees the necessity to withdraw our support from the wretches who run the government there or pretend to do that. Or perhaps Trump told him to stick it to them, at long last. Trump's experience of "military service" was his corrective enrollment at a private military high school, but he has stated that he knows "all about it.

Someone remarked to me once that it had been a miracle that the US could create an army for WW2. I asked him in response what sort of occupation Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton had been involved with before the war. Shoe sales? Gas station ownership" Insurance sales? What?

It would be tempting to think that one might vote for the Democrat. Biden the demented? Sanders the Marxist dreamer? Cuomo the massive NY City creep egotist?

No, we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo. pl

Fred , 25 March 2020 at 07:13 PM

Col.,

"we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo."

On a bright note today is another day where Hilary is not President.

Deap , 25 March 2020 at 07:37 PM
If MSM were in the business of posting facts instead of partisan hyperbole, you would think the Dems would have run something far better than a Sanders or a Biden at this particular juncture of history.

So did we get are handed a choice among "deplorables"; or an echo of equal deplorables. Right now, I will continue to dance with the gal who brung me. Trump is seasoning well and growing into the job. I would like to see what his next four years will bring. He knows the inside game now.

Who was it who said ask a government insider to do something and you get a string of excuses why it can't be done. Demurr to a business person who asks to get something done, and he/she will say fine, now go find me someone who can get it done. KAG 2020.

[Mar 25, 2020] The judge in the MH17 trial has issued an order for the US satelite data showing images of the Buk missile being launched to be made available.

Mar 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Mar 24 2020 17:21 utc | 22

The judge in the MH17 trial has issued an order for the US satelite data showing images of the Buk missile being launched to be made available. If the prosecution is unable (or refuses) to produce these images then this would strongly indicate that:

1. There was no Buk and MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian jet (which the very first, on the ground, eyewitnesses indicated).

2. The US was involved in this crime.

JUDGE DROPS A BOMBSHELL IN MH17 TRIAL – DUTCH PROSECUTORS CONCEAL COURT ORDER TO PRODUCE US SATELLITE DATA ALLEGEDLY SHOWING BUK MISSILE FIRING (John Helmer)


Peter AU1 , Mar 24 2020 17:58 utc | 24

ADKC 22

I tend to think US does have sat recording of the missile. It will show launch flare and rocket burn. It was quite clear by what Kerry said that this is what their sats pick up. Launch flare will show launch position to within a few meters.

Robert Parry did a piece on it a few weeks after the shootdown. His contact in the US intel thought sat pics of the position were showing Ukraine military.

ADKC , Mar 24 2020 19:29 utc | 40
Perter AU1 @24

This is what Kerry said within a few days of the MH17 downing:

"We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory. We saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from and where these weapons have come from."

But still, nearly 6 years later, no evidence has been provided? Surely you can see how inauthentic Kerry's statement is? Perhaps, Kerry could clear the matter up by being a witness at the MH17 trial?

Robert Parry's CIA source feels like an authorised leak and psyop exercise that reinforces the idea of a Buk and expresses concern about the possibility of Ukrainian military involvement (the true purpose of which is to create distance and absolve the US) whilst at the same time being meaningless and of no real value.

You "tend" to believe Kerry and a CIA leak and discount what ordinary Ukrainians witnessed on the day of the shootdown? Why????

[Mar 24, 2020] Western Journalists Really Want There to be a Huge Corona Epidemic in Russia by Anatoly Karlin

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

The stream of articles suggesting that Russia is covering up its Corona numbers has increased from a stream to a veritable flood:

Russia's coronavirus count under scrutiny as Putin government denies hiding cases Moscow Times: Russia Says It Has Very Few Coronavirus Cases. The Numbers Don't Tell the Full Story. Reuters: Sharp increase in Moscow pneumonia cases fuels fears over coronavirus statistics Business Insider: Doctors in Russia are accusing the government of covering up its coronavirus outbreak and denying them protective equipment CNN: Why does Russia, population 146 million, have fewer coronavirus cases than Luxembourg? Financial Times: Vladimir Putin keeps political plan on track despite virus crisis

Let's take a look at that last article , written by FT's Henry Foy today, and one of the more balanced (read: less PDS-afflicted) journalists doing the Russia beat (not to mention the most prominent in the above sample, having scored an exclusive interview with Putin in 2019).

"The present number of patients with coronavirus will be hidden from us," said Anastasia Vasilieva, chairman of Doctors' Alliance, a Russian lobby group affiliated with opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Now Foy, to his credit, at least has the journalistic integrity to acknowledge that this doctors' group (which I have never heard of before now) is affiliated with Navalny, whose entire shtick is to oppose everything and anything the Kremlin does.

A political tilt that its chairwoman helpfully confirms:

"The value of human life for our president is nil . . . We don't want to admit to any pandemic," said Ms Vasilieva. "We know of hospitals that are completely full and nurses who are asked to sew face masks from gauze."

***

But otherwise it follows the usual template on Russia COVID-19 coverage.

She claimed Moscow was instead classifying cases of the virus as pneumonia, the incidence of which increased by almost 40 per cent in January compared with a year previously, government data showed.

The aim here is to insinuate that there was a raging coronavirus epidemic camouflaged as the flu from as early as January 2020.

Oh Corona, where to start.

1. Flu mortality fluctuates wildly season to season by a factor of as high as 4x . So this is a perfectly meaningless fact from the outset.

2. Even China's epidemic only broke 1,000 cases in January 25. Where were Russians getting infected??

3. If this was true, it is Russia, not Italy, that would be the center of the COVID-19 epidemic now -- something that would certainly be noticed, e.g. in overflowing hospitals (no sign of that to date) or in exported cases (but that was all China in February, and predominantly Italy, Iran, and other EU nations now). It is Britons that Vietnam has started barring ten days ago, not Russians.

Here's what I guess happened. People got agitated by reports from China, and were more likely to consult doctors, producing more flu diagnoses. Even though the actual chance of Russians having COVID-19 in January if they hadn't been to Wuhan was on the order of a meteorite hitting them on the head.

While other foreign leaders have steeled their citizens for a long crisis and have spoken of a "war" against the pandemic, Mr Putin has played down the threat and urged citizens to remain calm in an effort to minimise panic -- and ensure the nationwide ballot on April 22 takes place.

"The virus is a challenge and comes at a very bad moment for him," said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of R. Politik, a political analyst. "Putin doesn't want to postpone and is insisting that the referendum takes place as soon as possible . . . The longer they wait, the more risks will appear."

LOL. Trump was saying Corona was fake news/nothingburger up until the end of February.

The US epidemic (22k cases) is about two orders of magnitude more advanced than Russia's (306 cases), but most states have continued to hold primaries for the Dem nomination.

And in any case Putin has allowed the possibility that the April 22 Constitutional Referendum may be postponed. There's no indication it's a hard, immovable date.

At the same time, Mr Putin has sought to project an image of control, continuing with his diary of local visits and meetings with senior officials, shaking hands and never wearing a face mask.

Although it would be nice for Putin to set a better example, this is the rule, internationally -- not the exception. Stressing this is so petty, LOL.

"No matter what happens in the next 35 days, they have to lie, hush up, and deny. It doesn't matter at all what really will happen to coronavirus in Russia, whether there will be a moderate outbreak or tens of thousands are killed," said Igor Pitsyn, a doctor in Yaroslavl, a city 250km north-east of Moscow.

"By Putin's decree all information about this is declared a state secret until April 22 . . . This 'nationwide vote' will be held at all costs."

First time I hear of this. Searching "путин коронавирус гостайна" doesn't produce any relevant results. This doctor must have some very high placed sources.

Or perhaps Foy had to travel all the way to Yaroslavl to get a sufficiently juicy quote.

While officials have cited the low number as proof of the success of swiftly closing its border with China in January and steadily cutting flights to affected countries, experts have questioned how the country has proved far more immune than almost any other. Neighbouring Belarus has five times more infections per capita than Russia, and France, which has roughly half Russia's population, has more than 50 times the number of cases.

Russia doesn't have large numbers of Gastarbeiters in the EU, unlike Belarus. Our Belorussian commenters also tell us that there are next to no control measures in place.

But Ukraine has perhaps 20x more Gastarbeiters in the EU than Belarus, and yet 2 days ago reported only 1/3 as many Corona cases (16 vs. 51). Which suggests where Western journalists covering Eastern Europe should really focus their attention .

If they, you know, cared about the Corona situation in Eastern Europe. As opposed to promoting the US line that Russia bad and China bad.

***

Incidentally, an update on Ukraine, two days after my alarm-raising article , in which I suggested that it's likely there's a big cluster developing undetected in Ukraine.

Even though testing in Ukraine remains extremely patchy -- even in per capita terms, its ~500 tests are two orders of magnitude lower than Russia's ~150k, or for that matter Belarus' ~16k -- the past two days have seen a surge of new cases from 16 to 41. The majority of those cases, some 25 of them, are concentrated in Chernivtsi oblast, which also saw the death of a 33 year old woman from existing problems magnified by the coronavirus.

The unlikelihood of such a mortality profile, coupled with the flood of new cases despite continued low testing rates, strongly suggests that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that a cluster is developing in Chernivtsi oblast.

This suggestion is backed up by an observation by Twitter user from_kherson :

There's a reason Chernivtsi has so many cases -- large # of people go to Italy for work.

An acquaintance of mine from there confirmed his business partner just tested positive for the virus.

But just in case you think I am piling on to Ukraine because of my own political obsessions you would be mistaken.

I will say that after Ukraine, probably the second biggest undetected Corona timebomb in Europe may be Serbia. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia page on COVID-19 testing doesn't have information for Serbia. However, one of my Serbian friends on Thursday wrote me that:

We are still testing around 50 per day, with 1/5 being positive

So both the intensity of testing and the rate of positives is similar to Ukraine.

This Friday, he continued:

We still have competent health care workers (the decision not to test the wider population is purely political, as was the decision no to close schools until 5 days ago), relatively functioning health care system, about 1500 respirators on a population that is 7+ million.

On the other hand, we have the second lowest reported total test volume anywhere in the world, after Malorossiya :), at 545 total as of this morning, one of the highest positive rates per 1000 tests (after Italy, Spain, Ecuador and the Philippines). We have seen an influx of over 250 000 gastarbeiters from Western Europe in the past 10 days Many people are breaking the 14 day mandatory self isolation. When I say many, I'm talking about thousands every day

We have 3 things potentially on our side. God, warmth, and Sun. Or it's all just God?

And to think that Serbia was one of the first countries in the world to eradicate smallpox in the 1830s Under the lifelong illiterate knyaz Miloš

The large number of Gastarbeiters in Western Europe, most of whom are now going to be let go, is another similarity that Serbia shares with Ukraine. And is something that will be a very problematic issue going forwards.

Fortunately, it appears that China (and Russia ) are going to bail Serbia out with test kits.

Extraordinary address the president of Serbia, the largest #EU membership candidate now banned from importing medical kit. "European solidarity does not exist. It was a fairy-tale the only country who can help us out of this difficult situation is China." #coronavirus https://t.co/JTbtPCS6NK 

-- Bojan Pancevski (@bopanc) March 16, 2020

Despite their rather different geopolitical viewpoints, European attitudes to both Serbia and the Ukraine are quite similar. They are to be exploited to the extent they are useful; otherwise discarded as needed. It's a lesson they should mull over.


Dmitry , says: Show Comment March 21, 2020 at 11:11 pm GMT

Why are you sensitive about what some article said in an American newspaper about Russia? Who cares? Half of articles in Russian websites are often ten times more stupid than even articles in American websites (which are already stupid), and people in America don't care about that.

Also, I read only CNN's article on the topic, and I notice it follows the pattern that CNN report more accurately outside America, than they do in America. I.e. They are more objective (like most people) writing about things which are far away from them
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/21/europe/putin-coronavirus-russia-intl/index.html

Felix Keverich , says: Show Comment March 21, 2020 at 11:37 pm GMT

Business Insider: Doctors in Russia are accusing the government of covering up its coronavirus outbreak and denying them protective equipment

I have to say that on reddit this kind of conspiratorial crap gets a LOT of interest and upvotes, an order of magnitude more upvotes than the factual Russian news. It seems that a large chunk of Western public feels better about themselves and their situation, "knowing" that there is terrible epidemic going on in Russia.

So these articles are actually having therapeutic effect on Western societies: ordinary people in West take comfort in [imaginary] Russian suffering.

Dmitry , says: Show Comment March 21, 2020 at 11:40 pm GMT
Serbia and Ukraine should have less developed epidemic of coronavirus, compared to most European countries, as they are one of the minority of European countries which is not in the EU.

As a result, they should have less per capita connectivity to Northern Italy, that is the "staging point" for the coronavirus epidemic's invasion into Europe.

Well, perhaps I am wrong about Serbia, as it is a neighbouring country to Italy. But the EU has a very intense labour mobility and incredibly amount of flights between themselves, if we would look at flightradar on a normal week.

Of course, now flightradar is pretty crazy and not quite representative of last month. https://www.flightradar24.com/59.77,29.75/8

But EU is still covered by flights. While planes are generally avoiding Serbia and Ukraine. Russia is almost disconnected from Europe now by planes (except for cargo planes). However, even in normal, pre-Coronavirus times, Russia (as well as Ukraine) is far more disconnected than any EU country, and is never blanketed by flights on flightradar in the same way as Europe.

Perhaps Serbia still receives a lot of entry by people in buses and cars.

Aedib , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:24 am GMT
Wishing the virus to hit hard Russia is a way Westerners try to cover their incompetence. There is an explosion of new cases in the USA but the American MSM keeps its Russophobe obsession.

Today new cases in USA reached the numbers of Italy

Mikhail , says: Website Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:36 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin From the MSN homepage:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/why-does-russia-population-144-million-have-fewer-coronavirus-cases-than-luxembourg/ar-BB11vhDw?li=BBnb7Kz

Mikhail , says: Website Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:47 am GMT
In line:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/coronavirus-coming-russia-134797

Not among the worst:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/world/europe/russia-coronavirus-covid-19.html

utu , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 4:35 am GMT
https://www.rt.com/russia/483744-russia-doctor-coronavirus-holiday/
" A leading infectious diseases specialist in Russia's southern Stavropol region endangered the lives of dozens of her colleagues and students by failing to self-quarantine after a holiday in Spain, where she contracted coronavirus."
last straw , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 4:41 am GMT
I think some Western journalists also want to see a second wave in China/Asia.
JimDandy , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 4:57 am GMT
Just read the headline and thought, "Western journalists really want there to be a huge corona epidemic in America ."

We all remember Bill Maher, to his credit, admitting to wanting what so many Progressives pray for -- a brutal recession that would sink Tump's chances of reelection -- but I am continually astounded by the fact that the MSM's hysterical, cult-like fervor for destroying Trump, even to the tragic detriment of the American people, simply will not exhaust itself. It is, if you will, a virus that keeps mutating into more and more virulent strains.

I think American-journalist-as-suicide-bomber is the number one potential threat to the United States, and preventing this should be the FBI's number one priority. Thx.

Alfa158 , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 7:33 am GMT
@yakushimaru The Chinese economy has at least one good thing going for it. They are the world's manufacturing floor. Ultimately they can still make things unlike the US which has hollowed itself out. Refilling the world supply chain gives them an advantage in recovering faster than the US will.
JL , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 8:04 am GMT
@Dmitry Don't be silly, there are entire organizations in the West dedicated to fact checking Russian news agencies and publishing their mistakes. So Anatoly's counterparts in the West do seem to care, they seem to care very much. Furthermore, there is the asymmetry between the geopolitical power of the two countries which makes what Americans write about Russia much more important than the inverse.

AK has been covering this topic for years, so it may not be interesting to you, but it is to him. And we come here, partly, because he writes about what he wants to, not what others want him to. You, yourself, pointed this out.

Realist , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 11:33 am GMT

Western Journalists Really Want There to be a Huge Corona Epidemic in Russia

Correction: The Deep State Really Want There to be a Huge Corona Epidemic in Russia and China.

Beckow , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:07 pm GMT
Western media openly wishing that a plague strikes Russia is very low class. It has a minor therapeutic role for the West to show that the evil ones are also suffering. But it is basically a continuing descent into hysteria. Next we will hear that Putin was spotted poisoning wells in Italy. (Sneaky bastard, probably used a face-mask, he is after all a trained KGB spy.)

Regarding facts: it is a truism that all numbers are understated. There must be at this point millions of people around the world who have been exposed and most will never know about it. Corona hurts the old and the sick, most other people probably wouldn't know it was happening without the media. In a preventive way it might actually benefit young, healthy people to be exposed when their bodies can develop immunity -- you don't in general get the same virus twice.

But a decision was made to protect our elders and it is a humane thing to do. And the usual suspects can't avoid their low class ideological manias, attacking China, Russia and/or Trump. These days they mostly work in the Western media. One wonders how that happened.

LondonBob , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:16 pm GMT
@Aedib That Russia proves, like China, to be more competent again is another nail in the coffin for the ruling sixties liberal ideology.
Realist , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm GMT
@LondonBob Another excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone.

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/liberal-npcs-hate-russia-conservative-npcs-hate-china-9b4ac2f853

Ms Karlin-Gerard , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 1:50 pm GMT
@utu This was actually going to be the subject of my next post. She is the chief infectious disease doctor for Stavropol!

She went to Madrid , from March 6th- March 9th- the exact period when cases in Spain started ballooning up (420 went to 1200)

She has infected 11 other people, at least, in Stavropol and also taken part in a conference there where about 1000 people attended.

I don't know if it was definitely a holiday -- sure, those are weekend dates and Madrid is a wonderful place but infections there then still exceeded
the number in Russia now.

Dacian Julien Soros , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm GMT
This weaponizing of random indignation is a classic tool of the Western propaganda. In Romania, we heard for a decade how the national-populists masquerading as socialists are to blame for the lack of highways. It's been a few years since idiot Romanians gather in random cities to complain that their city is not yet hooked to the Austro-Hungarian highway system, despite the lack of traffic between their city and Austro-Hungary.

It is my understanding that, once highway construction will start, there will be protests about natural or archeological treasures presumably endangered by the construction. It has been decently working in Russia, with that Khimki forest.

Anything that can be thrown at a government threatening to leave the NWO will be used. It's even worse for governments that are already one foot out, like Russia / China, or completely out, like Iran / North Korea. Putin will be blamed for epidemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and even eclipses. If an earthquake would kill only a few, we will hear about "failure to respond". If the earthquake doesn't kill anybody. we will be told that Putin exploited it for propaganda.

One of the ways that CIA and Soros use, in order to weaponize Romania's presumed lack of highways, is to pay some useful idiots, who call themselves "The Association for the Betterment of Highways", "The Pro-Infrastructura Brigade", and so on. Most of these NGOs consist of a single person, who posts videos of them ranting next to a construction site. Using the model that BoJo used for the upcoming marriage (three men and one dog), the more Soros/CIA-resistant types call them "The One-Incel-And-His-Drone Association".

By that same standard, I suspect we call this Doctors' Alliance "Vasilievna-and-her-thermometer Association". Whatever she says about Moscow hospitals is probably informed by her thermometer anyway. I doubt you can tell how things are in a 10-million city, especially if you are a marginal clown.

Is she an ophthalmologist, like The Part-Time Virologist Martyr of Wuhan? Dentist, perhaps?

[Mar 24, 2020] Western vs Russian propaganda

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ms Karlin-Gerard , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 12:32 am GMT

@Dmitry Can you show me even ONE article or report from Izvestiya, life, kp. Vz, RBK, vesti, Channel 1 etc that is stupid about the west? I can't because most of them are extremely well written.
The inverse situation? . I have just read 3 cretinous western lie reports about Russia/coronavirus in the last half an hour! Each one born out of jealousy or CIA psyops There is no comparison to make at all. You are doing false equivalence.

Gayropa DOES exist. It is a thing, an ideology

Your premise is absurd-50 % because Russian journalists are a lot more intellectual than their western counterparts . and the other 50 % is quite naturally because millions of Russians have closely admired or studied or been influenced by western practises and popular culture in the last 30 years .. than vice versa.

Kiselyov has had an American wife, speaks English, family in Germany and has done many excellent reports on western countries.

Brilyev speaks perfect English and is a British citizen.

Solovyov knows Italy and the US very well and on his talk shows he has done many objective, constructive/positive comments about American business climate and bureaucracy, for instance.

Can you compare any of those guys to their dumb as f ** k western counterparts trying to do a report on Russia?

Different matter if you are talking about RT – that is lowest of the low, anti-russian, garbage.

who cares? Half of Russian articles are 10 times more stupid than US ones

Who cares ? Because the culmination of these deceitful idiot scumbag stories is what creates the momentum to ban Russia from the Olympics based on "collective" not individual punishment , pull Ukraine away from Russia, make a friend of mine be too scared to come to Russia on holiday because "the police will arrest you there for no reason" BS.,dissuade investors from billions in investment because of PR, not practical reasons. create the conditions so that self-discrediting freaks like Browder and Rodchenkov can say any BS as a pretext to sanction russia with zero chance of getting refuted because of the "they will get killed" by Russian agents if they go into the public (whilst going to the public) theory- a hypothesis based on other lie reporting.

Russian media will make clear that its a disgrace the number of people the US police shoot dead each year- but they won't say or imply that Russian tourists will get shot by US police or dissuade them from going on holiday there.

[Mar 24, 2020] "Anastasia Vasilieva and her thermometer" NGO

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Let's take a look at that last article , written by FT's Henry Foy today, and one of the more balanced (read: less PDS-afflicted) journalists doing the Russia beat (not to mention the most prominent in the above sample, having scored an exclusive interview with Putin in 2019).

"The present number of patients with coronavirus will be hidden from us," said Anastasia Vasilieva, chairman of Doctors' Alliance, a Russian lobby group affiliated with opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Now Foy, to his credit, at least has the journalistic integrity to acknowledge that this doctors' group (which I have never heard of before now) is affiliated with Navalny, whose entire shtick is to oppose everything and anything the Kremlin does.

A political tilt that its chairwoman helpfully confirms:

"The value of human life for our president is nil . . . We don't want to admit to any pandemic," said Ms Vasilieva. "We know of hospitals that are completely full and nurses who are asked to sew face masks from gauze."

Dacian Julien Soros , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm GMT

This weaponizing of random indignation is a classic tool of the Western propaganda. In Romania, we heard for a decade how the national-populists masquerading as socialists are to blame for the lack of highways. It's been a few years since idiot Romanians gather in random cities to complain that their city is not yet hooked to the Austro-Hungarian highway system, despite the lack of traffic between their city and Austro-Hungary.

It is my understanding that, once highway construction will start, there will be protests about natural or archeological treasures presumably endangered by the construction. It has been decently working in Russia, with that Khimki forest.

Anything that can be thrown at a government threatening to leave the NWO will be used. It's even worse for governments that are already one foot out, like Russia / China, or completely out, like Iran / North Korea. Putin will be blamed for epidemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and even eclipses. If an earthquake would kill only a few, we will hear about "failure to respond". If the earthquake doesn't kill anybody. we will be told that Putin exploited it for propaganda.

One of the ways that CIA and Soros use, in order to weaponize Romania's presumed lack of highways, is to pay some useful idiots, who call themselves "The Association for the Betterment of Highways", "The Pro-Infrastructura Brigade", and so on. Most of these NGOs consist of a single person, who posts videos of them ranting next to a construction site. Using the model that BoJo used for the upcoming marriage (three men and one dog), the more Soros/CIA-resistant types call them "The One-Incel-And-His-Drone Association".

By that same standard, I suspect we call this Doctors' Alliance "Vasilievna-and-her-thermometer Association". Whatever she says about Moscow hospitals is probably informed by her thermometer anyway. I doubt you can tell how things are in a 10-million city, especially if you are a marginal clown.

Is she an ophthalmologist, like The Part-Time Virologist Martyr of Wuhan? Dentist, perhaps?

[Mar 21, 2020] RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 MARCH 2020 (by Patrick Armstrong) - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Mar 21, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 MARCH 2020 (by Patrick Armstrong)


(NOTE: Away in Feb, felled by severe cold this moth. Not.not CV)

PUTIN 4EVER. ( Russian Constitution text .) In January Putin suggested some amendments to the Constitution to be discussed and put to national vote in a referendum. Which is, I suppose, close enough to the amending procedure set out in Chapter 9. A commission was quickly set up and amendment suggestions came in. The final ones reflected the rather traditionalist flavour of Russia – marriage is between a man and a woman, a reference to God, indissolubility of Russian territory and some social guarantees. ( Wikipedia list .)

Two proposals reflect what Russia has learned in the three decades since the first version. Russian legislation will now take primacy over international law and office holders cannot have dual citizenship or foreign residency permits. This is understandable: the original text had been written at a time when Russians were much more hopeful about the outside world than they are now: grim experience has taught them that "international institutions" are another stick to beat them with. (And, given the chaos and destruction that the self-proclaimed " Rules-Based International Order" has produced, even laudable.)

Among the changes suggested by Putin and approved was the removal from Article 81.3 of "for more than two terms running"; in short two terms only for a president. So what we were looking at was a slightly less president-dominated system with a two-term president, the end of naïve expectations about the " Rules-Based International Order " and some declarations to make conservatives happy.

(I do not now remember why the term limit was in the Constitution – my vague memory is that Western advisors insisted on it so as to reduce dictatorship possibilities. There were, I remember, much fear of the Communists coming back in those days. But, a term limit is not normal world practice and most countries don't worry about it – MacKenzie King was PM of Canada for more than 21 years.)

So far so good and all reasonable enough and sensible.

Enter Valentina Tereshkova . Since we're changing the Constitution, said she, then we should start the presidential term counting clock all over again. In other words, when Putin finishes this term in 2024, he can run twice more. Did she think this up on her own or was she put up to it? No one seems to know. Putin addressed the Duma, said it was OK with him if the Constitutional Court approved. Which it did. At this point it is reasonable to observe that it is hardly "constitutional" if you rule that any president can restart the clock by making a few twiddles to the Constitution, is it?

The full package has not yet been approved by a referendum on 22 April but all indications are that it will be: a recent poll showed that a solid majority was quite happy to have Putin stay in office. Meretriciously the voters will be asked to approve the whole package or nothing .

So, what to say about all this? There are, as usual, several theories. First are those who have said from the beginning that Putin would contrive a way to stay on forever. Well, there isn't much of a retort to them except to to wonder why he didn't just amend Article 81.3, is there? Another theory holds that Putin feels he has to stay on because only he can manage things in the dangerous times of the decline of the Imperium Americanum. In his speech to the Duma he referred to Roosevelt's breaking the two-term custom, adding: " When a country is going through such upheavals and such difficulties (in our case we have not yet overcome all the problems since the USSR, this is also clear), stability may be more important and must be given priority. " Well, that decline is undeniably dangerous and there will be many crisis points; but it will take several dangerous decades and Putin certainly won't be here when the power earthquake is finally over. And there's always some crisis, somewhere. Another idea is that what he has really done is leave the possibility of running again thereby avoiding a lame duck period before he does go in 2024. Maybe: Putin is coy in this interview .

But, altogether, the manoeuvre leaves a bad taste in the mouth: manipulative, shabby, slipshod, legal only in the most pedantic sense, arbitrary, second-rate and poorly thought out. Very disappointing to someone who thought Putin did not want to be the Turkmenbashi of Russia.


The Twisted Genius , 19 March 2020 at 05:50 PM

Patrick, thanks for the detailed explanation of this move. I share your disappointment, but I'm not at all surprised. The earlier constitutional changes left an opening for Putin to continue ruling Russia. This change just makes that opening into a four lane highway. To be fair, I think the majority of politicians vying to lead their countries think they are their countries' best hope. Putin is no different.

When the USSR first collapsed, the void was immediately filled by many Academy of Science technicians. That didn't last long. They were quickly shunted aside by former CPSU members, a decidedly younger and more pragmatic bunch than the CPSU old guard, but with the same background. I knew some of the academics that were shunted aside. That's why I see only minor differences between the Russia of the Bolsheviki (as my great grandmother called all Russians) and today's Russia of the Russkii.

Hope you recover from your cold. SWMBO and I had colds for several weeks now and are fearful of being hauled off to an isolation ward if we cough in public.

Barbara Ann , 19 March 2020 at 06:02 PM
Good to see you back Patrick.

"..office holders cannot have dual citizenship or foreign residency permits." No constitution is complete without similar safeguards IMO. Compare and contrast with Iraq, where a dual US citizen, formerly of Bremmer's CPA no less, has just been appointed PM-designate. Perhaps one day Iraq too will get to exert sovereignty over its own constitution.

Do you have any thoughts on the OPEC+ bust up? Have Putin & MBS cooked this up together to challenge the petrodollar or just poach market share? Thanks.

Voatboy , 19 March 2020 at 06:27 PM
>, legal only in the most pedantic sense,

I am not a lawyer, but all modern laws seem corrupt to me. All modern laws seem to uphold the letter of the law and subvert the spirit of the law. All modem laws seem to be legal only in a pedantic sense. Let us pray that my perception is wrong about this, or at least let us hope that most people don't share my perception, because a nation state that is widely perceived to be without meaningful law lacks legitimacy, and thus is unstable.

Patrick Armstrong , 19 March 2020 at 07:01 PM
OIL price.
My first thoughts are 1) yes Putin & Co have decided that it's time to strike at the US 2) lower energy prices will help China a) recover from Covid b) take a big step forward. If so, the next punch may come from Beijing.

What's going on with MbS? Haven't a clue but I doubt he'll be smiling as the price war drags on.

Are we going through a Really Big Change Point? My thoughts when Covid appeared (and I'm collecting data) is that 2020 will be the year the West lost its mojo. No longer the Leader, the Most Competent, the Saviour.
For example this (all based on the prime directive that we're best https://www.statista.com/chart/19790/index-scores-by-level-of-preparation-to-respond-to-an-epidemic/?fbclid=IwAR2dmwOy9_c387cdrOL4f-PdXmr4aWSI684cJx3M98zm31wVIFdw_62tsZg). Hasn't worn well has it?

So maybe Putin is staying on because he's fired a barrage and wants to be around to mastermind the next stages.

JerseyJeffersonian , 19 March 2020 at 09:59 PM
Patrick,

I think that this oil thing is, indeed, aimed at the fracking "industry". Yes, it is impressive that it is done at all, but it is not now, nor will it ever be likely to be profitable. The yield so rapidly declines, that the capital investment required is not going to be recouped in the vast majority of instances. Thus far, the only thing that has kept it even marginally viable has been the oil price being high enough, coupled with the willingness of investors to set large sums of money on fire. Unless the whole thing were to be nationalized, and accepting plunging into a black hole of misallocated resources by the Fed (nothing new there, so never say never...), that sector is toast.

But I suspect that Putin has had enough of the Saudis, and the jihadi-supporting Gulfies, setting the Middle East ablaze with the sponsorship of this stuff made possible by the price of oil. This is a matter of national security for Russia, which has had to fight down Wahabbist types in their country, as well as in their near abroad. By slashing the oil price, they undermine that high price and the ability to both support the Wahabbists, and to content their growing and mostly unproductive home populations. I am quite sure that the Russians are also mindful of the threats made against them by the Gulfies around the time of the Sochi Olympics, and it is payback time now. They have helped fight the Islamists to a standstill, and now they are letting the Saudis & ilk reflect on the errors of their ways.

But the Russians are not just settling into a comfortably numb leaning on the Chinese. As recently clearly seen, China has some feet of clay, and all the big talk about the Belt & Road is scarcely a dome deal. Andrei Martyanov just put up a post about how the Russians are working on developing an access through Azerbaijan & Iran to the Indian Ocean, and thence to India, as well as many other points. It is The Grand Game Redux. And why not, because they are thereby not putting all of their eggs in the Chinese basket.

And pace McCain, being a gas station with nukes (but way, way more than that...) confers some real advantages. It comes down to EROEI, energy returned on energy invested, and not being limited to "tight oil" as a nationally, territorially controlled resource gives them a leg over. I think of money, in the context of a modern, technological society as nothing more than a proxy for access to energy, and currently it seems as if the Russians have it all over the US & Europe.

Big doings, and having such an experienced hand on the tiller, with the broad vision that Putin and his team exhibits is a material advantage. Why toss it away when your nation's sovereignty may depend on access to this asset?

Peter AU1 , 19 March 2020 at 10:16 PM
I very much doubt Putin will run for president again. His one request for change to the constitution was that "in a row" clause be removed. He has laid the foundations and more. There will be others who can continue the job.

When the government changed, some of the old guard government moved I think to the security council. Medvedev at least went to the security council. Putin spoke about it in the Tass interviews. If I recall correctly some new planning bodies were set up.
I suspect this is where Putin is planning to head at the end of his current term.

Fred , 19 March 2020 at 10:41 PM
"Russian legislation will now take primacy over international law and office holders cannot have dual citizenship or foreign residency permits"

A couple of ideas we need to return too ourselves.

"If so, the next punch may come from Beijing."

Yep, economic warfare from the East. We need to treat it as such.

Christian J Chuba , 20 March 2020 at 08:41 AM
"If the system that he and his team spent 20 years building doesn't work without him then it doesn't work."

Agreed. In the Oliver Stone interview, derided by his lessers in our MSM, asked a series of questions revealing Putin to be one of those micro-managers who can't delegate. Ironic that Yeltsin, who crushed Russia, managed to find an obscure St. Petersburg politician to succeed him to bring Russia back from ruin.

Any thoughts on how Russia was able to contain Coronavirus so well? I'm certain do more commerce w/China but Russia still has significant contact.

Patrick Armstrong , 20 March 2020 at 09:29 AM
As to Russia and Covid-19. As you may recall Moscow shut its borders pretty quickly -- long before the West did. I hear from contacts that if you arrive at Sheremetyevo, your temperature is taken immediately and other checks are made by people in hazmat suits. Again, anecdotal evidence says this isn't happening in the West. Moscow is building a big hospital (quickly although not as quickly as Beijing did.) Other factors I would suggest is that Russians by and large trust their govt and Moscow has serious civil defence preparations.
This piece makes interesting reading today. https://www.statista.com/chart/19790/index-scores-by-level-of-preparation-to-respond-to-an-epidemic/?fbclid=IwAR2dmwOy9_c387cdrOL4f-PdXmr4aWSI684cJx3M98zm31wVIFdw_62tsZg
Patrick Armstrong , 20 March 2020 at 10:30 AM
Of course there may be a simpler answer: looking across the pond, Putin sees an election between Biden (b Nov 1942) and Trump (b June 1946) and realises that he (b Oct 1952) is just at the start of his career.
Paul Anderson , 20 March 2020 at 11:23 AM
Patrick,
I have to largely agree with your coda. Chretien, King ... while I agree that there need be nothing sacrosanct about term limits, time waits for no man. I lean towards the lame duck thesis, because I suspect the man has to be tired and really would like to take a step back.

For instance, although the RF seems to be handling this as well as or better than the Western countries (low bar, I know), I have so far seen no evidence that V.V. Putin sees the COVID response as a strategically vital threat / opportunity. If Russia is able to emerge relatively quickly and whole, to join with China and East Asia among those that have demonstrated the efficacy of their cultural / civilizational models, this might prove decisive indeed, and might even succeed in prising Europe from the grip of the U.S. and the comprador Atlanticists.

With the medical diplomacy to Italy, France, Cuba, Venezuela ... China I think may already be acting on this. I've been surprised not to see more evidence of Russia / China solidarity and joint actions (pace the joint denunciation of Iran sanctions). But, then again, maybe the oil-price war is a coordinated element of this.

Though the decline of the Imperium will, as you say, not be the work of a day, this particular moment is as dangerous and turbulent as anything we've seen since the Cuban missile crisis. The slope of decline might be quite a bit steeper than any cautious thinker might have imagined just three months ago. Maybe he just can't commit to stepping back now. It does seem sloppy though. Be well, in whatever part of the Dominion that you happen to inhabit.

Sincerely
@EmpireinWinter

Joe Kowalski , 20 March 2020 at 01:38 PM
Patrick,
I would suggest that a much more important reason for the new presidential amendment in Russia is the likely, imminent collapse of the United States economy. You need to read and study Rotislav Ischenko's 2015 post which is as follows;
http://thesaker.is/time-is-running-out-for-pax-americanas-apologists/

In this post, Ischenko sees that some time in 2016 the U.S. will only get an "hard landing. He ends this post with:

"The point of no return will pass once and for all sometime in 2016, and America's elite will no longer be able to choose between the provisions of compromise and collapse. The only thing that they will then be able to do is to slam the door loudly, trying to drag the rest of the world after them into the abyss."

Knowledgeable analysts are writing that this collapse, because of the Coronavirus being a catalyst, will take place in 2020.

https://www.goldmoney.com/research/goldmoney-insights/the-journey-to-monetary-gold-and-silver

If the U.S. can stay in its current stagnation mode for the mid-term, IMO Russia would not have made plans to change the constitution in the way you reported. It's governance is in great shape, and I am confident that the new prime minister can continue Putin's work. If the U,.S. economy collapses, we have a different scenario. Putin is needed to manage the U.S. slamming the door when its economy drops into the abyss.

Patrick Armstrong , 20 March 2020 at 01:57 PM
There's a lot of ruin in a nation and the USA still has a lot left that isn't ruined.
But Covid is certainly going to kick it a step down (and the West too) and China will be kicked a step up; so it's a major tremor in the geopolitical tectonic plate movement.
So I'm sure that that's in there somewhere in the Putin Team's calculation. I do notice that when he talks about the oil price "war" he says "we have a solid safety margin for several years" which suggests a timeline of <5years.
The problem is that we/I are just speculating: nobody expected this. But we ARE dealing with a team that has shown it can think long term so it is certainly possible that they foresee (accurately IMO) that oil price+covid will be a bad combination for NATOland and the pilot wants to remain at the helm.

[Mar 17, 2020] Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts American Oil by Scott Ritter

Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

R ussia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world's largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia's refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia's motives appear to be far different -- its target isn't Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia's goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers " share the pain ".

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660 , targeting "persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were "driving into a corner" relations between the two countries, threatening the "the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people." Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump .

"Yes, I did," Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."

Putin's comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump's continuous praise of Putin's leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin's refusal to respond in kind to President Obama's levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!" Trump Tweeted . Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin's refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and "stupid" move .

"Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies," Putin remarked. "So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don't understand."

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the "political paranoia" on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, "will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."

While President Trump entered office fully intending to " get along with Russia ," including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions , the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment .

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia's energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that "They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," adding that "The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin , the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of "power colonialism" that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia's perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production -- which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019 -- and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies "share the pain," they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as "fracking," to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi's were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs -- none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It's clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon. According to the Russian Finance Ministry , said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain -- U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for "trade and investment." Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the "importance of orderly energy markets."

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," famously said , "Russians don't take a dump without a plan."

Russia didn't enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated -- to defeat U.S. shale oil -- and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).

[Mar 15, 2020] US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes: Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine vs US occupying Iraq.

Mar 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Mar 14 2020 18:26 utc | 18

The neocons trying to control Trump are going to have a hard time this year because of the election. Trump knows his people voted for him because of his promises to get the troops back home. Of course the neocons want to build up more and more troops in Iraq or even split Iraq into 3 different countries. The Iraqi and Iranian leaders with the Syrians to a lesser degree will try to take advantage of Trump's dilemma. The Kurds are involved also. This is all explored by Pam Ho How Much Do You Suck (To lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein)

Willy2 , Mar 14 2020 18:32 utc | 19

- The US knows it "influence" is waning and tries to "carve out" a sunni "rump state" in North-West Iraq. First the US fights ISIS in that same area/region from the year 2014 onwards and now they are supposed to fight in FAVOUR of the sunnis/ISIS ?

"US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes"

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-seeking-carve-out-sunni-state-its-influence-iraq-wanes

- Some politicians are recognizing that the killing of Qassam Sulemani has weakened the US position in the Middle East.

"Killing Soleimani made US 'weaker' in Middle East, US senator says".

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/killing-soleimani-made-us-weaker-middle-east-us-senator-says

arata , Mar 14 2020 19:37 utc | 29
General McKenzie said they have bombed a civilian air port in Karbala was a right decision, Iraqi police force who were killed, they shouldn't be there!
See the video 13:00 onward.
Peter AU1 , Mar 14 2020 19:50 utc | 32
arata 29
Rueters had a piece on it which I linked in the last Iraq thread. Total yank arrogance and exceptionalism.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-usa-iran-retaliation-mi/iraq-condemns-u-s-air-strikes-warns-of-consequences-idUSKBN2101AD?il=0
""These locations that we struck are clear locations of terrorist bases," said Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the U.S. military's Central Command.

"If Iraqis were there and if Iraqi military forces were there, I would say it's probably not a good idea to position yourself with Kataib Hezbollah in the wake of a strike that killed Americans and coalition members," he told a Pentagon news briefing."

dltravers , Mar 14 2020 21:40 utc | 40
Despite Trump the Iraq policy transcends his administration and will continue in some form in the future. There will be a continued presence in some form and in some part of the country. Our beloved ally in the region demands our presence.

They smartly keep the presence small with no draft remembering that is what took them out of Nam. An angry draft worthy populace, a counter culture disillusioned with the murder of their liberal anti war leadership by the state, and ample media coverage of the war carnage.

All of that is long gone, and even with the age of internet reporting the populace has been bought off with entertainment, amazon, porn, and bullshit.

Abe , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 54
@43

Parallel is IMO very interesting, Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine and US occupying Iraq. In both cases there was minority that welcomed occupier with open arms, wanting to oppress majority of own country folks due to earlier grievances. In both cases, invader didn't want to bother with using that minority to own goals, as they saw them all as inferior race. And invader was in both cases more interested in conquering more powerful neighbor to the east.

Irony is that, if Nazi Germany/US didn't look at Ukraine/Iraq people as inferior race they could use them for own goal to fight Russia/Iran. But, dumb as they are, they stuck all those Ukrainians into camps(lot of them sympathizers to Germany/rabidly against Russia)/ disbanding ex. Saddam's army and made kernel of future anti US force into region, not to mention Kurdish question.


Peter AU1 , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 55
53 Snake put up a link back up the thread.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/14/620858/Iraq-military-demands-foreign-forces-swiftly-withdraw-following-US-air-raids
"Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces..."

"Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

According to a statement released by his office at the time, Abdul-Mahdi "requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq" in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."

US in response moved to a few bases they intended to occupy and give the two finger salute to Iraq. Trump threatened sanctions and theft of Iraq's oil money which is in the US. Pentagon now moving patriots in.

Jackrabbit , Mar 15 2020 2:43 utc | 69
Question to b @53: ... it was a non-binding resolution.

It's "non-binding" on USA only because the Prime Minister conducts foreign policy and there's no current written basing agreement between Iraq and USA that can be terminated. The resolution demands that the Prime Minister arrange for the departure of US troops.

The resolution is binding on the Prime Minister because it was a valid vote in accordance with Iraqi Parliamentary procedure.

USA refused to discuss leaving Iraq and claimed that the Parliamentary vote was "non-binding" because it was unrepresentative (USA got their Sunni and Kurd sympathizers to boycott the vote). But Parliament still had a quorum, so the vote is legal and binding.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Is it enforceable?

USA/NATO are very unlikely to leaving willingly. We are seeing the start of a civil war in Iraq because most Sunnis and Kurds support USA/NATO remaining while Shia want USA/NATO to leave.

!!

james , Mar 15 2020 2:36 utc | 67
just start with the first lie and go from their... usa / uk lied the world into going to war on iraq... and from their the lies just keep on getting stacked.. if you can't acknowledge the first lie, you probably are incapable of recognizing all the other lies that have been thrown on the same bullshit pile... one big pile of lies and bullshite - a specialty of the exceptional country..
james , Mar 15 2020 2:25 utc | 65
@ 63 question.. you like this usa style bullshit that buys politicians in iraq and when that doesn't work, they go on to the next attempt at installing a politician willing to agree to their bullshite? interesting bullshit concept of democracy if you ask me... everything has a price tag and honour is something you can pick up at the grocery store... right..

[Mar 13, 2020] US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

charliechan , Mar 13 2020 20:36 utc | 115

charlie chan wonders why entire media world fear mongering.

The CDC test kits error 49% to positive.

And charlie chan not hear of one case of flu death. Did Corona Virus cure the flu?

US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How?

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] Levada poll is financed by the USA in violation of Russian laws

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Mar 11 2020 7:43 utc | 84

Helmer prefers Levada poll.
https://tass.com/politics/898199
A Justice Ministry source told TASS that a random check carried out by the ministry's Moscow branch had established that the Levada Center was financed by foreign sources and was involved in political activities in the territory of Russia in the interests of its foreign sponsors. The center prepares and distributes by means of modern information technologies their opinion on decisions passed by Russian bodies of state power and their policy and forms socio-political views and convictions.

"The inspection revealed that the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada had received a large part of its funds from the United States, including a grant from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which is curated by the U.S. Department of Defense," the source said.

On things Russian, I think a Russian funded poll might be more accurate than a US government funded NGO.

uncle tungsten , Mar 11 2020 9:11 utc | 85

Peter AU1 #83

On things Russian and USA funding I just discovered this piece at Unz Review in regard to Kevin Rothrock.

Apart from the direct links to State Department and Soros funds, I thought of Integrity Initiative and is jolly band of stenographers at large.

[Mar 11, 2020] Levada poll is financed by the USA in violation of Russian laws

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Mar 11 2020 7:43 utc | 84

Helmer prefers Levada poll.
https://tass.com/politics/898199
A Justice Ministry source told TASS that a random check carried out by the ministry's Moscow branch had established that the Levada Center was financed by foreign sources and was involved in political activities in the territory of Russia in the interests of its foreign sponsors. The center prepares and distributes by means of modern information technologies their opinion on decisions passed by Russian bodies of state power and their policy and forms socio-political views and convictions.

"The inspection revealed that the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada had received a large part of its funds from the United States, including a grant from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which is curated by the U.S. Department of Defense," the source said.

On things Russian, I think a Russian funded poll might be more accurate than a US government funded NGO.

uncle tungsten , Mar 11 2020 9:11 utc | 85

Peter AU1 #83

On things Russian and USA funding I just discovered this piece at Unz Review in regard to Kevin Rothrock.

Apart from the direct links to State Department and Soros funds, I thought of Integrity Initiative and is jolly band of stenographers at large.

[Mar 11, 2020] Steve Rosenberg @BBCSteveR: In an interview, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova claims that "politics is dominating" in the #MH17 case and calls me "a piece of propaganda."

Mar 11, 2020 | twitter.com

Serbian Patriot @PatriotSerbian · Mar 9 Replying to @BBCSteveR Fundamental flaws remain in the JIT's final verdict. Feel free to debate these critical points Steve: ( https:// 21stcenturywire.com/2019/06/23/des pite-its-official-verdict-fundamental-flaws-remain-in-dutch-jit-mh17-investigation/ ) Despite its 'Official' Verdict, Fundamental Flaws Remain in Dutch JIT MH17 Investigation 21WIRE | After an elaborate five year, NATO member state-led process, not everyone is convinced by the JIT's politicized conclusion. 21stcenturywire.com taseenb @taseenb · 19h Replying to @BBCSteveR She's amazing and she's right. I would have called you a mercenary though, which is more accurate orbi @kwo_vadis · Mar 9 Replying to @BBCSteveR Have you talked to the Skripals? Deborah Wylde @flamingyam · Mar 9 Replying to @BBCSteveR Why did you ignore her questions? Instead, avoiding them by throwing more accusations at her. Mark Curtis @markcurtis30 · Mar 9 I've written a lot on the media over the years but the current state of UK press reporting on UK foreign policy is shocking. There is no news system, the public is being misinformed, the press (from Tory to "liberal") acts largely as an appendage of the state. Please see thread. https:// twitter.com/declassifiedUK Arthur Tewungwa @ATewungwa · Mar 9 Replying to @BBCSteveR Love the way Mahathir Mohammed the PM of the country's whose plane has been shot down is relegated to a spectator. The BBC shamelessly tie his rejection of the allegation thrown at Russia with the sale of Palm oil, further portraying Malaysia as an economic basket case. Really Thinking face

[Mar 11, 2020] Apparently the Dutch are actually going ahead with a trial over the MH-17 plane shootdown, seeking to convict in absentia three Russians and a Ukrainian.

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Mar 10 2020 20:56 utc | 26

Apparently the Dutch are actually going ahead with a trial over the MH-17 plane shootdown, seeking to convict in absentia three Russians and a Ukrainian. It is my understanding that a Dutch military report effectively ruled out exactly the scenario proposed for this trial, and did so several years ago.

Malaysia has provided the dissent to the MH-17 investigation to date, although a newly elected government may seek to pull back from overt criticism in the future. A Malaysian diplomat who has been involved has rather pointed things to say about the politicization of the investigation and the questionable motivations of the Ukrainians, and claims the court case is based on hearsay and a voice recording with no provenance.
https://asiatimes.com/2020/03/is-malaysias-position-on-mh-17-tragedy-shifting/

[Mar 10, 2020] The American conference in Bratislava in the Slovak Republic in April 2000 made the American goal for Europe clear: An Iron Curtain between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, with hopefully Russia be eventually divided or broken up into smaller states

Mar 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Malbrough , says: Show Comment March 10, 2020 at 2:50 am GMT

In an op-ed in the Financial Times on March 4th, he [Soros] urged that "Europe must stand with Turkey over Putin's war crimes in Syria," an astonishing misreading of the situation in the region as Turkey is the aggressor while Russia is fighting to eliminate the last major terrorist enclave in Idlibt.

" Defender 2020" is a "maneuvre of shame"
by Willy Wimmer
former State Secretary at the German Ministry of Defence

"The German Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel, is breaking a taboo by allowing German soldiers to participate in the biggest NATO manoeuvre since the end of the Cold War against Russia .

It is therefore no wonder that the German Federal Government in May 2019 did not commemorate the "Versailles" of one hundred years ago, nor did the German President do so in a commemoration ceremony for which he can be held accountable. Versailles does not only mean "the demon of revenge", but also a deliberate inability to strive for peace.

This way of thinking is expressed once again in the NATO major manoeuvre, deliberately planned for the 9 May, the day the war ended in 1945. As if the fact had needed further proof that the "NATO West" cannot make peace, it can only make war, be that war cold or hot.

The American conference in Bratislava in the Slovak Republic in April 2000 made the American goal for Europe clear: An Iron Curtain between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, Russia can stay anywhichwhere, and be divided or broken up into smaller states. The NATO manoeuvre called "Defender 2020" is a "manoeuvre of shame" that only serves the warmongers . "

[Mar 10, 2020] The Long Roots of Our Russophobia by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Notable quotes:
"... Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria ..."
"... Mettan defines Russophobia as the promotion of negative stereotypes about Russia that associate the country with despotism, treachery, expansion, oppression and other negative character traits. In his view, it is "not linked to specific historical events" but "exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim's alleged behavior or characteristics." ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Russophobia in the United States has been advanced most insidiously by the nation's foreign policy elite who have envisioned themselves as grand chess-masters seeking to checkmate their Russian adversary in order to control the Eurasian heartland. ..."
"... This view is little different than European colonial strategists who had learned of the importance of molding public opinion through disinformation campaigns that depicted the Russian bear as a menace to Western civilization. ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
For the last five years, the American media has been filled with scurrilous articles demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has been accused of every crime imaginable, from shooting down airplanes, to assassinating opponents, to invading neighboring countries, to stealing money to manipulating the U.S. president and helping to rig the 2016 election.

Few of the accusations directed against Putin have ever been substantiated and the quality of journalism has been at the level of "yellow journalism."

In a desperate attempt to sustain their political careers, centrist Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton accused their adversaries of being Russian agents – again without proof.

And even the progressive hero Bernie Sanders – himself a victim of red-baiting – has engaged in Russia bashing and unsubstantiated accusations for which he offers no proof.

Guy Mettan's book, Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2017) provides needed historical context for our current political moment, showing how anti-Russian hysteria has long proliferated as a means of justifying Western imperialism.

Mettan is a Swiss journalist and member of parliament who learned about the corruption of the media business when his reporting on the world anticommunist league rankled his newspapers' shareholders, and when he realized that he was serving as a paid stenographer for the Bosnian Islamist leader Alija Izetbegovic in the early 1990s.

Mettan defines Russophobia as the promotion of negative stereotypes about Russia that associate the country with despotism, treachery, expansion, oppression and other negative character traits. In his view, it is "not linked to specific historical events" but "exists first in the head of the one who looks, not in the victim's alleged behavior or characteristics."

Like anti-semitism, Mettan writes, "Russophobia is a way of turning specific pseudo-facts into essential one-dimensional values, barbarity, despotism, and expansionism in the Russian case in order to justify stigmatization and ostracism."

The origins of Russophobic discourse date back to a schism in the Church during the Middle Ages when Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Roman empire and modified the Christian liturgy to introduce reforms execrated by the Eastern Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine empire.

Mettan writes that "the Europe of Charlemagne and of the year 1000 was in need of a foil in the East to rebuild herself, just as the Europe of the 2000s needs Russia to consolidate her union."

Before the schism, European rulers had no negative opinions of Russia. When Capetian King Henri I found himself a widower, he turned towards the prestigious Kiev kingdom two thousand miles away and married Vladimir's granddaughter, Princess Ann.

A main goal of the new liturgy adopted by Charlemagne was to undermine any Byzantine influence in Italy and Western Europe.

Over the next century, the schism evolved from a religious into a political one.

The Pope and the top Roman administration made documents disappear and truncated others in order to blame the Easterners.

Byzantium and Russia were in turn rebuked for their "caesaropapism," or "Oriental style despotism," which could be contrasted which the supposedly enlightened, democratic governing system in the West.

Russia was particularly hated because it had defied efforts of Western European countries to submit to their authority and impose Catholicism.

In the 1760s, French diplomats working with a variety of Ukrainian, Hungarian and Polish political figures produced a forged testament of Peter 1 ["The Great"] purporting to reveal Russia's 'grand design' to conquer most of Europe.

This document was still taken seriously by governments during the Napoleanic wars; and as late as the Cold War, President Harry Truman found it helpful in explaining Stalin.

In Britain, the Whigs, who represented the liberal bourgeois opposition to the Tory government and its program of free-trade imperialism, were the most virulent Russophobes, much like today's Democrats in the United States.

The British media also enflamed public opinion by taking hysterical positions against Russia – often on the eve of major military expeditions.

The London Times during the 1820s Greek Independence war editorialized that no "sane person" could "look with satisfaction at the immense and rapid overgrowth of Russian power." The same thing was being written in The New York Times in the 2010s.

A great example of the Orientalist stereotype was Bram Stoker's novel Dracula , whose main character was modeled after Russian ruler, Ivan the Terrible. As if no English ruler in history was cruel either.

The Nazis took Russo-phobic discourse to new heights during the 1930s and 1940s, combining it with a virulent anti-bolshevism and anti-semitism.

A survey of German high school texts in the 1960s found little change in the image of Russia. The Russians were still depicted as "primitive, simple, very violent, cruel, mean, inhuman, cupid and very stubborn."

The same stereotypes were displayed in many Hollywood films during the Cold War, where KGB figures were particularly maligned. No wonder that when a former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, took power, people went insane. Russophobia in the United States has been advanced most insidiously by the nation's foreign policy elite who have envisioned themselves as grand chess-masters seeking to checkmate their Russian adversary in order to control the Eurasian heartland.

This view is little different than European colonial strategists who had learned of the importance of molding public opinion through disinformation campaigns that depicted the Russian bear as a menace to Western civilization.

Guy Mettan has written a thought-provoking book that provides badly needed historical context for the anti-Russian delirium gripping our society.

Breaking the taboo on Russophobia is of vital importance in laying the groundwork for a more peaceful world order and genuinely progressive movement in the United States. Unfortunately, recent developments don't inspire much confidence that history will be transcended. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018) and Obama's Unending Wars: Fronting for the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

[Mar 09, 2020] Ending the Myth That Trump is Ending the Wars by Khury Petersen-Smith

Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
There was this moment during the State of the Union Address that I can't stop thinking about.

When President Trump spoke to army wife Amy Wiliams during his speech and told her he'd arranged her husband's return home from Afghanistan as a "special surprise," it was difficult to watch.

Sgt. Townsend Williams then descended the stairs to reunite with his family after seven months of deployment. Congress cheered. A military family's reunion -- with its complicated feelings that are typically handled in private or on a base -- was used for an applause line.

That gimmick was the only glimpse many Americans will get of the human reality of our wars overseas. There is no such window into the lives or suffering of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, or beyond.

That's unacceptable. And so is the myth that Trump is actually ending the wars.

The U.S. has reached a deal with the Taliban to remove 3,400 of the 12,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, with the pledge to withdraw more if certain conditions are met. That's a long overdue first step, as U.S. officials are finally recognizing the war is a disaster and are negotiating an exit.

But taking a step back reveals a bigger picture in which, from West Africa to Central Asia, Trump is expanding and deepening the War on Terror -- and making it deadlier.

Far from ending the wars, U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and Syria have skyrocketed under Trump, leading to more civilian casualties in both countries. In Somalia, the forces U.S. operations are supposedly targeting have not been defeated after 18 years of war. It received little coverage in the U.S., but the first week of this year saw a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 80 people.

Everywhere, ordinary people, people just like us except they happen to live in other countries, pay the price of these wars. Last year saw over 10,000 Afghan civilian casualties -- the sixth year in a row to reach those grim heights.

And don't forget, 2020 opened with Trump bringing the U.S. to the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with Iran. And he continues to escalate punishing sanctions on the country, devastating women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people.

Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. Over the past year, he has deployed 14,000 more troops in the Middle East -- beyond the tens of thousands already there.

If this seems surprising, it's in part because the problem has been bipartisan. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have actually supported these escalations.

In December, 188 House Democrats joined Republicans in passing a nearly $740 billion military budget that continues the wars. They passed the budget after abandoning anti-war measures put forward by California Representative Barbara Lee and the precious few others trying to rein in the wars.

It's worth remembering that State of the Union visual, of Congress rising in unison and joining the president in applause for his stunt with the Williams family. Because there has been nearly that level of consensus year after year in funding, and expanding, the wars.

Ending them will not be easy. Too many powerful interests -- from weapons manufacturers to politicians -- are too invested. But ending the wars begins with rejecting the idea that real opposition will come from inside the White House.

As with so many other issues -- like when Trump first enacted the Muslim Ban and people flocked to airports nationwide in protest, or the outpouring against caging children at the border -- those of us who oppose the wars need to raise our voices, and make the leaders follow. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Khury Petersen-Smith

[Mar 09, 2020] Defender of Europe 2020: a Dangerous Provocation on Russia's Border

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
by Ellen Taylor At this very moment thousands of US soldiers are disembarking from troop transports in six European countries and rushing toward prepositioned munitions around Europe, to deploy weapons as swiftly as possible.

This excitement marks the beginning of "Defender Europe 2020", the largest military exercises to be staged in Europe in over 25 years. Strategists will record how swiftly our forces can reach the Russian border, and test our NATO allies.

There has already been a massive US build-up in the countries bordering Russia.

In the words of Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, "The last 18 years of conflict built muscle memory in counterinsurgency, but with this came atrophy in other areas. We are now engaging these other muscle groups."

General Tod Wolters, Commander of US forces in Europe and of NATO, has stated, "I'm in favor of a flexible first-use (nuclear weapon) policy."

The US has withdrawn from the INF treaty.

Most diabolical and chilling of all: the exercises will come to a climax in June, which is the 75 th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, which killed 27 million people. Russians born in 1930 turn 90 this year. They remember. The heart and soul of Russia remembers as well.

Russian Chief General Gerasimov is convinced the US is preparing for war. All it would take for an attack is one false-flag operation.

The people of the world lie in helpless ignorance. And the Doomsday clock moves 20 seconds closer to midnight.

[Mar 09, 2020] HMG novel on what happened to the Skripal's is unbelievable. Has the quality of modern day Agatha Christie's deteriorated that much?

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom , Mar 8 2020 22:57 utc | 38

New article from John Helmer "MI6 & BBC REVEAL OPERATION MINCEPIE – SKRIPAL BLOOD-TESTS AT SALISBURY HOSPITAL FAILED TO SHOW NERVE AGENT UNTIL PORTON DOWN ADDED IT FOR THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO ANNOUNCE".

"The evidence of the Salisbury hospital personnel has been reviewed by a sharp-eyed English analyst who prefers anonymity and an internet handle called Twiki. He has discovered that the blood testing of the Skripals for at least 36 hours after their hospitalisation – that is between their admission on Sunday afternoon March 4, and the following Tuesday morning March 6 – did not (repeat not) reveal a marker for organo-phosphate nerve agent poisoning; that is, the level of acetylcholinesterase (ACE) in the bloodstream.*"

It seems to me that HMG fiction writers need to up their game. HMG novel on what happened to the Skripal's is unbelievable. Has the quality of modern day Agatha Christie's deteriorated that much? It seems that the events on March 4th in Salisbury were not anticipated and a clusterfuck of the coverup has no clothes on it.

[Mar 09, 2020] When two US Senators, Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, sought to slow the rush of the US executive into emergency measures and war, they and the US Congress they served were hit hard by a military grade bioweapon, anthrax

Mar 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

The importance of getting to the factual roots of what happened to put humanity on this epidemiological trajectory should be especially clear after the debacle of September 11, 2001. Without any sustained investigation of the 9/11 crimes, Americans were rushed into cycles of seemingly perpetual warfare abroad, police state and surveillance state interventions at home. This cycle of fast responses began within a month of 9/11 with a full-fledge military invasion of Afghanistan, an invasion that continues yet.

When two US Senators, Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, sought to slow the rush of the US executive into emergency measures and war, they and the US Congress they served were hit hard by a military grade bioweapon, anthrax. The violent tactic of the saboteurs proved effective in easing aside close scrutiny that might have slowed down the fast approval by the end of October of Congress's massive Patriot Act.

Since then a seemingly endless cycle of military invasions has been pushed forward in the Middle East and Eurasia. The emergency measure powers claimed by the executive branch of the US government extended to widespread illegal torture, domestic spying, media censorship and a meteoric rise in extrajudicial murders especially by drones. This list is far from complete.

All of these crimes against humanity were justified on the basis of an unproven official explanation of 9/11. Subsequent scholarly investigations have demonstrated unequivocally for the attentive that officialdom's explanations of what transpired on the fateful day in September were wrong, severely wrong. The initial interpretations are strongly at variance with the evidentiary record available on the public record.

We must not allow ourselves to be hoodwinked in the same manner once again. The stakes are too large, maybe even larger than was the case in 2001. The misinterpreted and misrepresented events of 9/11 were exploited in conformity with the " Shock Doctrine ," a strategy for instituting litanies of invasive state actions that the public would not otherwise have accepted.

The conscientious portion of humanity, many of whose members have done independent homework of their own on the events of 9/11, will well understand the importance of identifying the actual originating source of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic.

No less than in the wake of the 9/11 debacle , there are grave dangers entailed in being too quick or too naïve or too trustful in immediately accepting as gospel fact the Chinese government's initial explanations of the COVID-19 outbreak. Why not take the time to investigate and test the current interpretations of the authorities that proved themselves to be so wrong in their decision to reprimand Dr. Li?

Especially when the stakes are extremely high, the need is great for objective, third-party adjudication to establish what really happened irrespective of official interpretations. History provides abundant evidence to demonstrate that official interpretations of transformative events often veer away from the truth in order to serve and protect the interests of entrenched power.

All semblance of due process and the rule of law can quickly evaporate when powerful institutions advance interpretations of catastrophic events used to justify their own open-ended invocation of unlimited emergency measure powers. The well-documented examples of the misrepresentation and exploitation of the 9/11 debacle demonstrate well the severity of the current danger. The origins of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic have yet to be adequately addressed and explained by a panel of genuinely independent investigators.

The Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, acknowledged on Feb. 9 on CBS's Face the Nation that there is no certainty about the origins of COVID-19. When asked by CBS's Margaret Brennan where the virus came from, the Chinese Ambassador responded, "We still don't know yet."

[Mar 09, 2020] Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 9 2020 6:19 utc | 73

@Likklemore #26:
Russia will be fine all the way down to $20//bbl

Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (the prices of other oil & gas exports, such as other crude oil blends, natural gas, LNG and petroleum products, are converted into Urals blend prices using statistical formulas). If the market price turns out to be higher, the surplus goes into the National Wealth Fund ($124 bn as of December 1, 2019; currency composition is 45% U.S. dollars, 45% euros, 10% pound sterling); conversely, if the price is lower, the deficit is financed from the NWF. This is known in Russia as "the budget rule" ( бюджетное правило ).

You can see the prices of various crude oil blends at the OilPrice.com 's Oil Price Charts page, but note that the Urals blend prices shown are lagging by three days as of the time of this comment. Generally, Urals blend price is somewhere between WTI and Brent blend prices, so it should be around $32/bbl at the moment. Meaning, Russia will now have to start taking money from the NWF.

If the low prices persist for a long period of time, Russia can balance the budget by devaluing the ruble, as its foreign debt is one of the lowest in the world -- no budget cuts are necessary. Russia's foreign exchange reserves currently stand at $570 bn (77.1% foreign currencies, 1.2% SDR, 0.7% reserve position in the IMF, 21.0% gold).

[Mar 06, 2020] Records show that at their meeting on February 12, 2016, the JIT officials agreed that the "requested information" identified in the December 4, 2015, meeting and including the US satellite data, was "yet to be completed

Mar 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

evilempire , Mar 6 2020 1:01 utc | 42

New leaked documents in the mh17 investigation revealed by Max Van der Werff

and expounded upon by John Helmer:

"These records show that at their meeting on February 12, 2016, the JIT officials agreed that the "requested information" identified in the December 4, 2015, meeting and including the US satellite data, was "yet to be completed."

Instead, the only civilian satellite evidence which the JIT later said it has used, comes from the European Space Agency. In the JIT report of September 28, 2016, the Dutch said "the European Space Agency (ESA) has aided the investigation team extensively in the search for relevant images from satellites. This has shown to be of great value: Not only did ESA obtain images of all relevant civilian satellites, but they also have experts who have assessed these images. The conclusions drawn by ESA confirm the conclusions of the investigation team with regard to the launch site."

Note that the JIT refers here to civilian satellites.

The leak last month from the JIT files of two reports from MIVD, the Dutch military intelligence agency, both dated September 21, 2016, has identified US and NATO military satellite intelligence ("partner informatie") as the source for MIVD's conclusions that no Russian BUK missile radar and launch units had crossed the border into Ukraine before or on July 17, 2014; no BUK missile radar targeting or firing on MH17 had been detected; and no identified Russian units on the Russian side of the border had launched missiles."

If the US and military satellite images contradict the ESA images, then one set of images is a fabrication. We
can deduce that the ESA images are almost certainly fabrications because if no Russian buk crossed the border then
all those photos and videos the jit lynch mob have been trumpeting are fake, essentially reducing the jit's credibility to zero.

[Mar 05, 2020] Who Or What Started The Wuhan Coronavirus Epidemic

Mar 05, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

There has been considerable scholarly scrutiny of the anthrax attacks targeting the US Congress and some media organizations in early October of 2001. The anthrax attacks constitute the most serious assault ever on the operations of the US Congress, the primary interface between law and politics in the United States.

These attacks have come to be understood as an integral part of the large body of crimes committed in Manhattan and Washington DC on 9/11. The anthrax attacks killed five people including two postal workers. Seventeen people were injured and Congress was shut down for a few days.

Anthrax-laden letter attacks were specifically directed at two Democratic Party Senators, Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle. When they received the contaminated letters both lawmakers were engaged in questioning provisions of the post-9/11 emergency measures legislation known as the Patriot Act. Both Senators Leahy and Daschle were hesitant to rubber stamp the enactment that was seemingly instantly drafted and put before Congress within three weeks of the 9/11 debacle.

The anthrax attacks took place just as the US Armed Forces began invading Afghanistan where the culprits of the 9/11 crimes were supposed to be hiding out. The perpetrators of the anthrax attack, who we were supposed to imagine at the time as al-Qaeda terrorists, succeeded in easing aside the major locus of opposition to the Patriot Act's speedy passage in late October. Why, one might legitimately ask, ask, would Islamic jihadists want the Patriot Act to be rushed through Congress. In early October the US Armed Forces invaded Afghanistan at the same time that the US executive branch was seeking with the Patriot a license to kill and torture and steal without any checks of accountability.

Once the US Armed Forces went to war with Afghanistan on the basis of a fraudulent explanation of 9/11's genesis, there was basically no chance that a genuine and legitimate evidence-based investigation of the September 11 crimes would ever take place. To this day the Global War on Terror continues to unfold on a foundation of lies and illusions that have had devastating consequences for the quality of life for average people throughout the United States and the world.

In his 2005 book, Biowarfare and Terrorism , Prof. Boyle's analysis pointed to major problems in the FBI's investigation of the anthrax attacks including the agency's destruction of relevant evidence. To Prof. Boyle, the highly refined military-grade quality of the anthrax made it almost certain that the anthrax bioweapon was produced within the US Armed Forces at the lab in Fort Detrick Maryland. Anthrax, or Bacillus anthracis , is a rod-shaped bacteria found naturally in soil.

Looking back at the episode Dr. Boyle observed , "The Pentagon and the C.I.A. are ready, willing, and able to launch biowarfare when it suits their interests. They already attacked the American People and Congress and disabled our Republic with super-weapons-grade anthrax in October 2001."

Prof. Boyle's interpretation was later verified and expanded upon in a book by Canadian Prof. Graeme MacQueen. Prof. Boyle acknowledges the veracity of Prof. MacQueen's study of the anthrax deception as part of a "domestic conspiracy." He sees The 2001 Anthrax Deception as the most advanced finding of academic research on the topic so far.

Prof. MacQueen is prominent among a very large group of academics and public officials who condemn the official narrative of 9/11 for its dramatic inconsistencies with the available evidence. Those who share this understanding include former Italian Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga, former German Defence Minister Andreas von Bülow, former UK Minister of the Environment Michael Meacher, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, former Director of the US Star Wars Missile Defense Program Lt. Col. Bob Bowman, Princeton International Law Professor Richard Falk, and the author of ten academic books on different aspects of the 9/11 debacle, Claremont Graduate University Professor David Ray Griffin.

Prof. Francis Boyle shared the 9/11 skepticism of many when he asked ,

Could the real culprits behind the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, and the immediately-following terrorist anthrax attacks upon Congress ultimately prove to be the same people? Could it truly be coincidental that two of the primary intended victims of the terrorist anthrax attacks - Senators Daschle and Leahy - were holding up the speedy passage of the pre-planned USA Patriot Act ... an act which provided the federal government with unprecedented powers in relation to US citizens and institutions?

In his coverage of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic, Spiro Skouras highlighted the proceedings known as Event 201. Event 201 brought together in New York on October 18, 2019 an assembly of delegates hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The gathering anticipated the COVID-19 crisis by just a few weeks. I retrospect it is almost as if Event 201 announced many of the controversies about to arise with the outbreak of the real epidemic in Wuhan China. Event 201 performed functions similar to those of the drills that frequently mimic the engineered scenarios animating false flag terror events but especially those of 9/11.

A major subject of the meeting highlighted the perceived need to control communications during an epidemic. Levan Thiru of the Monetary Authority of Singapore went as far as to call for "a step up on the part of governments to take action against Fake News." Thiru called for recriminatory litigation aimed at criminalizing "bad actors." Cautioning against this kind of censorship, Skouras asked, Who is going to decide what constitutes "Fake News"? If fact checkers are to be employed, "who will fact check the fact checkers"?

Hasti Taghi, a media executive with NBC Universal in New York, was especially outspoken in condemning the activities of "conspiracy theorists" that have organized themselves to question the motives and methods of the complex of agencies involved in developing and disseminating vaccines. She frequently condemned the role of "conspiracy theories" in energizing public distrust of the role of pharmaceutical companies and media conglomerates in their interactions with government.

Tom Ingelsby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security injected an interesting twist into the discussion. He asked, "How much control of information should there be? By whom should control of information be exercised? How can false information be effectively challenged?" Ingelsby then added, "What happens if the false information is coming from companies and governments?"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/AoLw-Q8X174

This final question encapsulates a major problem for conscientious citizens trying to find their way through the corruption and disinformation that often permeates our key institutions. Those that try to counter the problem that governments and corporations sometimes peddle false information can pretty much expect to face accusations that they are "conspiracy theorists." Too often the calculations involved in deciding whom or what is credible (or not) depends primarily on simple arithmetic favouring the preponderance of wealth and power.

Spiro Skouras gives careful consideration to the possibility that the United States instigated the COVID-19 epidemic starting in Wuhan China.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WE8m309gKVE

https://www.youtube.com/embed/p0DDXsPKGHw

He notes the precedent set in 1945 on the atomic attacks by the US government on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Skouras points out that there is proof that since the Second World War, the US government has conducted at least 239 experiments, secretly deploying toxic chemical and biological agents against portions of its own population.

On the history of US involvement in biological warfare see here , here and here .

Skouras highlights the window presented for a covert US bioweapon attack at the World Military Games in Wuhan China in the second half of October of 2019. He notes that 300 US soldiers participated as athletes in the Wuhan Military Games together with a large contingent of American support personnel. The timing and the circumstances of the event were more or less ideal to open up a new pathogenic front in the US government's informal "hybrid war" against China .

On Feb. 15 at the Munich Security Conference, US Defence Secretary, Mark T. Esper, developed a highly critical characterization of Chinese wrongdoing in order to seemingly justify recriminatory actions. Esper asserted , "China's growth over the years has been remarkable, but in many ways it is fuelled by theft, coercion, and exploitation of free market economies, private companies, and colleges and universities Huawei and 5G are today's poster child for this nefarious activity.

The US antagonism to Huawei's leadership in the design and worldwide dissemination of 5 G technology might well be a factor in the scandal generated by the Chinese connection to intertwined research in microbiology at the level 4 labs in Winnipeg and Wuhan.

Back in 2000 the notorious report entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses , a publication brought forward by the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC), proposed that the US government should refurbish and invoke its capacity to wage biological warfare. PNAC was the think tank that anticipated the events of September 11, 2001 by outlining a strategic scheme that could only be realized by mobilizing American public opinion with "a catalytic event like a New Pearl Harbor."

After 9/11, the PNAC Team of related neoconservative activists and Zionist organizations pretty much took over the governance of the United States along with the build up and deployment of its formidable war machine. PNAC called for the invocation of "advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes." In this fashion "biological warfare might be transformed into a politically useful tool."

The relationship of this pandemic to internal disagreements within China has been put on full display in Steve Bannon's coverage of the crisis entitled War Room: Pandemic . A prominent member of US President Donald Trump's inner circle , Steve Bannon is often accompanied on the daily show by Chinese billionaire dissident, Miles Guo (aka Guo Wengui, Miles Haoyun, Miles Kwok).

Guo is an outspoken Chinese refugee . He is a persistent critic of virtually every facet of the policies and actions of the Chinese Communist Party.

Guo regularly condemns those who dominate China's one-party system, a system run by an elite who, he alleges, are corrupt, incompetent and inveterate liars. Guo regularly asserts that all of the Chinese government's numbers on the pandemic, including death rates and infection rates, can probably be multiplied by 10X or even 100X to get closer to accuracy.

[On the 10X guestimate of mortality and infection see this .]

Clearly Bannon and Guo would like to see the emergency conditions created by the pandemic as a wedge of division, protest and regime change within China. One of the subjects they regularly raise, as do others who accuse the Chinese government of systematic lying and deception, is that the crematoriums in Wuhan and nearby Chongqing are burning corpses of dead people at a rate far higher than official death figures. Some reports indicated that portable incinerators were being brought into the most infected core of the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic.

It is troubling, to say the least, that some reports indicate dead people are being cremated far faster and at far higher rates than the Chinese government and the World Health Organization are reporting. Some reckoning with the apparent disparity between reported and actual deaths has led to widespread suspicions about what is actually going in the scenes of violent and angry exchanges between people in the Wuhan area.

Many of these videos show brutal confrontations between Chinese civilians and Chinese security police. The displays of desperation by some of those trying to escape apprehensions by uniformed officials seem sometimes to suggest the severity of a life or death struggle . It is made to seem that those seeking to escape the grip of authorities are aware that their failure to do so might lead to a quick death and a quick exit by incineration. These reflections are, of course, speculative rather than definitive.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/yvouHwAEYCk

Questions concerning who we are supposed to believe or not in this crisis are becoming ever more pressing and volatile. One of the emerging themes in the discourse developed at War Room: Pandemic is the propensity of some of the core agencies of mainstream media in the United States to accept at face value the reports they receive from official media outlets answering to the Chinese Communist Party. To Banning and Guo this pattern makes media organizations like the New York Times , The Washington Post , and CNN essentially propaganda extensions of the Chinese government.

The Chinese people themselves are clearly grappling in new ways with the problem of how to understand the information and directives given them by the governing apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party. Clearly the Party initially failed the people by not intervening early and decisively enough after the first cases of Coronavirus illness began to show up. The exit from Wuhan of almost five million people in prior to the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations had huge implications for spreading the contagion.

As noted in the introduction, the death in Wuhan of Dr. Li Wenliang on 7 February has become a flash point for popular criticism of the Chinese Communist Party led by General Secretary Xi Jinping. Dr. Li wrote to members of his medical school alumnus group suggesting that some significant action should be taken in response to the appearance of SARS-like symptoms that suddenly afflicted his patients.

For sending out this unauthorized communication, Dr. Li was summoned along with seven other supposed offenders to the Public Security Bureau. There he was warned by police to stop "making false statements." He was ordered to cease and desist "spreading rumors," and "acting illegally to disturb social order."

Dr. Li signed a form indicating he would refrain from continuing to do what he had been accused of doing. The chastised professional returned to his medical practice. He took his own advice and began treating patients exhibiting signs of the new illness. He himself soon died from COVID-19 when it was still known as 19-nCoV.

Is Twitter's permanent deplatforming of the Zero Hedge web site a North American version of the police intervention in China with the goal of silencing Dr. Li? Is the censorship of the Internet in the name of opposing "conspiracy theorists" repeating the Chinese Communist Party's effort to silence Dr. Li?

Is Dr. Li to be appropriately understood as a Chinese version of a "conspiracy theorist"? How different was his treatment for allegedly "spreading rumours" and "acting illegally to disturb social order" from the treatment of those in the Occident who have been deplatformed, smeared and professionally defrocked for attempting to speak truth to power?

I have developed responses to these incursions based on hard-won experiences facing the propaganda blows of an especially powerful political lobby able to seize control of the governing board of my university. These professional lobbyists seek to discredit academic analysis of their own violations of law, ethics and civility by labelling critics of their zealotry as "conspiracy theorists" or worse.

More recently I have been grappling against a variation on this process in trying to counter the censorious attacks on the American Herald Tribune . These assaults on free expression and open debate began with the machinations of military hawks whose hit job instructions were passed along to the disinformation specialists at CNN and the Washington Post .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1MXdLwZ6spE

No one can say for sure where the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic is taking the world. Wherever we are headed, however, we are leaving behind an era that can never be recreated. Whatever happened to originate the contagion, this crisis is forcing us to take stock of the framework of biological warfare as it has been developing in China, Russia, Israel and probably many other countries.

Nowhere, however, is biological warfare being more expansively and expensively developed and probably deployed than by the US Armed Forces. The death and destruction that humanity is presently experiencing should signal to us that it is time to get much more serious about inspecting military facilities and enforcing the terms of the Biological Warfare Convention of 1972. It is, in fact, time to get much more serious about enforcing all aspects of international criminal law in balanced ways that transcend the biases of Victors' Justice.

It is time to throw off the weight of the pseudo-laws introduced after 9/11 through abhorrent tactics like the inside-job military anthrax attack on Congress. Most certainly, it is time to draw a clear distinction between research in the field of public health and research in the development of lethal bioweapons. Better yet, we should work towards putting an end altogether to militarization through the massive expansion of the "death sciences." The vile activities of fallen practitioners of the endangered life sciences are, for starters, undermining the integrity of our besieged institutions of higher learning.

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[Mar 05, 2020] Intelligence Officials Sow Discord By Stoking Fear of Russian Election Meddling by Dave DeCamp

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF. ..."
"... Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy. ..."
"... The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more . ..."
"... Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored. ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
Another presidential election year is upon us, and the intelligence agencies are hard at work stoking fears of Russian meddling. This time it looks like the Russians do not only like the incumbent president but also favor who appears to be the Democratic front-runner, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday, The New York Times ran a story titled , "Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump." The story says that on February 13 th US lawmakers from the House were briefed by intelligence officials who warned them, "Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected."

The story provides little detail into the briefing and gives no evidence to back up the intelligence officials' claims. It mostly rehashes old claims from the 2016 election, such as Russians are trying to "stir controversy" and "stoke division." The intelligence officials also said the Russians are looking to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries.

It looks like other intelligence officials are already undermining the leaked briefing. CNN ran a story on Sunday titled "US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference." The CNN article reads, "The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia's interference this cycle is aimed at re-electing Trump, the officials said."

According to The Times, President Trump was upset with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for letting the briefing happen, and Republican lawmakers did not agree with the conclusion since Trump has been "tough" on Russia. In his three years in office, Trump certainly has been tough on Russia, and it is hard to believe that Putin would work to reelect such a Russia hawk.

Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF.

The Trump Administration might let another nuclear arms treaty lapse. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limits the number of nuclear warheads that Russia and the US can have deployed. The US does not want to re-sign the treaty and is using the excuse that it wants to include China in the deal. China's nuclear arsenal is estimated to be around 300 warheads , which is just one-fifth of the amount that Russia and the US are allowed to have deployed under the New START. It makes no sense for China to limit its deployment of nuclear warheads when its arsenal is nothing compared to the other two superpowers. China appears to be a scapegoat for the US to blame if the treaty does not get renewed. Without the New START, there will be nothing limiting the number of nukes the US and Russia can deploy, making the world a much more dangerous place.

Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy.

The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more .

Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored.

The leaked briefing harkens back to an intelligence assessment that came out in January 2017 during the last days of the Obama administration. The assessment concluded that Vladimir Putin himself ordered the election interference to help Trump get elected. At first, a falsehood spread through the media that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed with the conclusion. But later testimony from Obama-era intelligence officials revealed the assessment was prepared by hand-picked analysts from the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The assessment offered no evidence for the claim and mostly focused on media coverage of the presidential candidates on Russian state-funded media.

On Friday, The Washington Post piled on to the Russia hysteria and ran a story titled "Bernie Sanders briefed by US officials that Russia is trying to help his campaign." The story says Sanders received a briefing on Russian efforts to boost his campaign. The details are again scant and The Post admits that "It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken."

The few progressive journalists that have been right on Russiagate all along had the foresight to see how accusations of Russian meddling would ultimately be used to hurt Sanders' campaign. Unfortunately, Sanders did not have that same foresight and frequently played into the Russiagate narrative.

Last week, during a Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, when criticized for his supporters' behavior on social media, Sanders pointed the finger at Russia . "All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our elections and divide us up. I'm not saying that's happening, but it would not shock me," Sanders said.

In comments after The Post story was published, Sanders said he was briefed on Russian interference "about a month ago." Sanders raised the issue with the timing of the story, having been published on the eve of the Nevada caucus. But the story did not slow down Sanders' momentum in the polls, and he came out the clear victor of the Nevada caucus. Sanders' victory seemed to rattle the Democratic establishment, and some wild accusations were thrown around during coverage of the caucus.

Political analyst James Carville appeared on MSNBC as Sanders took an early and substantial lead in Nevada. Carville said, "Right now, it's about 1:15 Moscow time. This thing is going very well for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He's probably staying up watching this right now." What could be played off as a joke was followed up with some serious accusations from Carville, "I don't think the Sanders campaign in any way is collusion or collaboration. I think they don't like this story, but the story is a fact, and the reason that the story is a fact is Putin is doing everything that he can to help Trump, including trying to get Sanders the Democratic nomination."

This delusional attitude about the Russians rigging the Democratic primary is underpinned by claims of meddling from the 2016 election. Central to Robert Mueller's claim that Russia engaged in "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election" is the St. Petersburg based company, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The IRA is accused of running a troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 election in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Mueller failed to tie the IRA directly to the Kremlin, and further research into their social media campaign shows most of the posts had nothing to do with the election. A study on the IRA by the firm New Knowledge found just "11 percent" of the IRA's content "was related to the election."

Many believe the Russian government is responsible for hacking the DNC email server and providing the emails to WikiLeaks. But there are many holes in Mueller's story to support this claim. And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – who Mueller did not interview – has said the Russian government was not the source of the emails.

Regardless of who leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, they show that DNC leadership had a clear bias against Bernie Sanders back in 2016. The emails' contents were never disputed, and Democratic voters had every right to see the corruption within the DNC. With the release of the DNC emails, and later the Podesta emails, the American people were able to make a more informed choice in the presidential election. This type of transparency provided by WikiLeaks would be celebrated in a healthy democracy, not portrayed as the work of a foreign power.

Sanders would be wise to keep a watchful eye on how the DNC operates over the next few months. The debacle that was the Iowa caucus shows the Democrats can "stoke division" and "stir controversy" just fine on their own.

These claims of Russian meddling will continue throughout the election season. President Trump's defense that he is "tough" on Russia is nothing to be proud of, but that is inevitably where these accusations lead. Trump is encouraged to be more hawkish towards Russia in an effort to quiet the claims of Putin's preference for him. And if Bernie Sanders plays into this narrative now, can we believe that he will make any real foreign policy change towards Russia if he gets the nomination and beats Trump?

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave .

[Mar 05, 2020] Salisbury poisoning unleashed Russian bogeyman ... but where are the Skripals 2 years on by Simon Rite

Mar 04, 2020 | www.rt.com
Forget Where's Wally, what we really want to know is where are the Skripals? It's exactly two years to the day since the Russian spy and his daughter were novichoked in Salisbury, and we've still not seen hide nor hair of them. Former double agent Sergei has been completely off-grid, while Yulia Skripal was seen in a highly staged video in 2018, filmed in an anonymous but pleasant leafy glade shortly after recovering from her poisoning ordeal; but, apart from that, there has been no statements or updates about them at all.

The most recent piece of 'information', and I use that term loosely, to leak out about their whereabouts came this weekend from Britain's Mail on Sunday, courtesy of a source which became ubiquitous throughout the Skripal saga, the reliably unreliable "security insiders." It's always amazing how willing these apparent insiders are to release top-level secrets to the home of the "sidebar of shame."

The latest speculation from 'security insiders' is that the Skripals are hoping to head for a new life down under in Australia after "effectively living under house arrest since the attack." This means either those insiders are the leakiest spies in the world, or the Skripals are going to be nowhere near Australia anytime soon.

Read more Hospitalized children & dead ducks? The 'official' Skripal narrative goes completely quackers

The house arrest must be at Julian Assange in Belmarsh levels of security, because even the Skripals' family in Russia say they haven't heard from them in months.

So all quiet on the Skripal front and, frankly speaking, it's all quiet on the geopolitical front, too, and in the media. The disputed events of March 4, 2018, over poisoned spies and their aftermath formed the biggest story on the planet, and not just because the whole world finally started paying attention to the majesty of Salisbury cathedral's glorious 123-metre spire.

This incident seemed like it might have genuine life-changing political consequences. Britain entered the phrase "highly likely" into the lexicon of geopolitics, and [then-PM] Theresa May's declaration that it was "highly likely" that the Kremlin was to blame was deemed strong enough to see the West turn en masse against Moscow, and Russian diplomats and 'diplomats' were expelled by the dozen, by London and its allies across the world. It seemed the bar for state-to-state accusations had been lowered.

Russia to this day denies involvement in what happened in Salisbury.

So what has changed? If anything, all that has changed over the last two years is a desire to get back to business, to rebuild ties and move on. Some of those expelled diplomats have reportedly moved back .

French leader Emmanuel Macron is pushing hard for relations between the West and Moscow to be repaired, something Germany needs little encouragement for.

The Brexit dividend (for Russia)... In 2019, British imports of Russian oil jumped by a whopping 57% compared to the previous year, as Boris Johnson's government unleashed the potential of their country. https://t.co/ZSIJGvpFif

-- Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) February 27, 2020

Britain is still pretending to be in a huff, but British imports of Russian oil were up 57 percent last year, so realpolitik reigns supreme in London, as ever.

Boris Johnson is now the prime minister and with a thumping majority doesn't need to use bogeyman Russia as a tool to look strong quite as much as his predecessor did. Johnson and Putin even met in January and there are reports the prime minister is considering an invitation to attend a second world war commemoration parade in Moscow this May.

And as for the media, it's all gone quiet there, too. Skripal coverage is about as common in the mainstream now as coverage of Julian Assange's imprisonment. He's a journalist whose supporters say is 'highly likely' a victim of a demonstrable state campaign against him because he attempted to uncover the misdeed of power. However, a boring attack on free speech is nowhere near as exciting as a poisoned spy, is it?!

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Simon Rite is a writer based in London for RT, in charge of several projects including the political satire group #ICYMI. Follow him on Twitter @SiWrites

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Mar 04, 2020] Why Are We Being Charged? Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing Spark Calls for Government to Cover All Costs by Jake Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notes of disaster capitalism in action...
Notable quotes:
"... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions." ..."
"... Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up? ..."
"... In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital." ..."
"... Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China. ..."
"... Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays ..."
"... The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

"Huge surprise medical bills [are] going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone." by Jake Johnson, staff writer Public health advocates, experts, and others are demanding that the federal government cover coronavirus testing and all related costs after several reports detailed how Americans in recent weeks have been saddled with exorbitant bills following medical evaluations.

Sarah Kliff of the New York Times reported Saturday that Pennsylvania native Frank Wucinski "found a pile of medical bills" totaling $3,918 waiting for him and his three-year-old daughter after they were released from government-mandated quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

"My question is why are we being charged for these stays, if they were mandatory and we had no choice in the matter?" asked Wucinski, who was evacuated by the U.S. government last month from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I assumed it was all being paid for," Wucinski told the Times . "We didn't have a choice. When the bills showed up, it was just a pit in my stomach, like, 'How do I pay for this?'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions."

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told the Times that

"the most important rule of public health is to gain the cooperation of the population."

"There are legal, moral, and public health reasons not to charge the patients,"

Gostin said.

Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up?

-- William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 2, 2020

In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital."

"An additional $90 in charges came from radiologists who read the patients' X-ray scans and do not work for the hospital," Kliff noted.

The CDC declined to respond when Kliff asked whether the federal government would cover the costs for patients like the Wucinskis.

The Intercept 's Robert Mackey wrote last Friday that the Wucinskis' situation spotlights "how the American government's response to a public health emergency, like trying to contain a potential coronavirus epidemic, could be handicapped by relying on a system built around private hospitals and for-profit health insurance providers."

We should be doing everything we can to encourage people with #COVIDー19 symptoms to come forward. Huge surprise medical bills is going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone, regardless of if you are insured. https://t.co/KOUKTSFVzD

-- Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 1, 2020

Play this tape to the end and you find people not going to the hospital even if they're really sick. The federal government needs to announce that they'll pay for all of these bills https://t.co/HfyBFBXhja

Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China.

"He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room," according to the Herald . "Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he'd need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first."

Azcue tested positive for the flu and was discharged. "Azcue's experience shows the potential cost of testing for a disease that epidemiologists fear may develop into a public health crisis in the U.S.," the Herald noted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, highlighted Azcue's case in a tweet last Friday.

"The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together," Sanders wrote. "We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills. Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health."

Last week, as Common Dreams reported , Sanders argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates the urgent need for Medicare for All.

The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together. We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills.

Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health. https://t.co/c4WQMDESHU

-- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 28, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged by more than two dozen over the weekend, bringing the total to 89 as the Trump administration continues to publicly downplay the severity of the outbreak.

Dr. Matt McCarthy, a staff physician at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, said in an appearance on CNBC 's "Squawk Box" Monday morning that testing for the coronavirus is still not widely available.

"Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients," McCarthy said. "I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me."

"I'm here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don't have it at my finger tips," added McCarthy. "I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by middle of week. There's going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue."

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


Harry_Pjotr 13h

Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays

Smerl fern 12h

A wall street bank or private predator may own your emergency room. A surprise bill may await your emergency treatment above insurance payments or in some instances all of the bill.

An effort was made recently in congress to stop surprise billings but enough dems joined repubs to kill it. More important to keep campaign dollars flowing than keep people alive. fern Smerl 12h I know emergency rooms are being purchased by organizations like Tenet (because they are some of the most expensive levels of care) and M.D.s provided by large agencies. I'm not as up on this as I should be but a friend of mine tells me that some of this is illegal. I have received bills that were later discharged by challenge. This is worth investigating further. Atlas oldie 11h Hmmmm A virus that overwhelmingly kills the elderly and/or those with pre-exisitng conditions.

Sounds like a medical insurance companies wet dream. As well as .gov social security/medicare wet dream.

Just sayin'

Ticki 11h

The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. And as has been stated, the unconscionable idea suggested that a possible vaccine (a long way away or perhaps not developed at all) might not be affordable to the workers who pay the taxes that fund the government? That's insane.

leftonadoorstep 11h

Another example of "American Exceptionalism." China doesn't charge its coronavirus patients, neither does South Korea. I guess they are simply backward countries.

Barton 11h

I own my own home after years of hard work paying it off. It's the only thing of value, besides my old truck, that I have. If I get the virus, I will stay home and try to treat it the best I can. I can't afford to go to the hospital and pay thousands in medical bills, with the chance that they'll come after my possessions. America, the land of the _______. Fill in the blank. (Hint: it's no longer free).

fern 1 Barton 11h

There are other ways to protect your home. Homesteading or living trust. I'm not good at this but I know there are ways to do it. Hopefully, it would never come to that but outcomes are not certain even with treatment in this case.

Giovanna-Lepore oldie 11h

As someone who lost a mother at 5 years old I can sympathize with your grief in losing a daughter-in-law and especially seeing her four children orphaned. However, I think you miss the point here: This is about we becoming a society invested in each others welfare and not a company town that commodifies everything including the health and well being of us all.

fern 1 Giovanna-Lepore 11h

I'm going by: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text

As a revision it is better but flawed. It is a cost containment bill based on the same research as the republican plan with global budgets and block grants.

Edited: I encourage you to read this:
-ttps://www.rand.org/blog/2018/10/misconceptions-about-medicare-for-all.html Giovanna-Lepore 10h oldie:

Part D

Higher education is not free but they do need to become free for the students and payed by us as a society.

Part D is a scam, a Republican scam also supported by corporate democrats because of its profit motive and its privatization

Medicare only covers 80% and does not cover eye and dental care and older folks especially need these services. Medicaid helps but there are limits and one cannot necessarily use it where one needs to go. Expanded, Improved Medicare For All is a vast improvement. because it covers everyone in one big pool and, therefore, much more dignified than the rob Paul to pay peter system we have.

Social Security too can be improved. Why should it simply be based on the income of the person which means that a person working in a low paying job in a capitalist system gone wild with greed will often work until they die.

Pell grants can be eliminated when we have what the French have: publicly supported education for everyone.

The demise of unions certainly did not help but it was part of the long strategy of the Right to privatize everything to the enrichment of the few.

Yunzer SuspiraDeProfundis 10h

Thank goodness for the "/s". Poe's Law you know

The overall competence that Canada is handling this outbreak, compared to the USA, is stark. First world (Canada) versus third-world (USA). Testing is practically available for free, to any suspect person, sick or not, as Toronto alone can run 1000 tests a day and have results in 4 hours. That is far more than all the US's capacity for 330 million people.

I wonder how long before Canada closes its borders to USAns? Me and my wife (both in a vulnerable age/medical group) should seriously consider fleeing to my brother's place in Toronto as the first announced cases in Pittsburgh are probably only days away. What about our poor cat though? We could try to smuggle her across the border, but she is a loud and talkative kitty

Greenwich 10h

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media. Did get this from my NJ Sen. Menendez –

Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • For more information : htps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
  • How it spreads : The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. [Read more.]
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html )
  • Symptoms : For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Seeker 9h Greenwich:

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media.

I agree it is being hyped by the media to the point of being fear mongering. At the same time it is being ignored by the administration to such an extent that really little almost nothing is being done. At some point the two together will create an even bigger problem.

It is like the old adage: "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." Each over/under reach in considering the reality of the situation has its own problem, which multiply when combined. Every morning when I wake up I say a little atheistic prayer to myself before I get out of bed: "Another day and for better or worse...".

Seeker 8h

Well, two reported here in Florida tonight. One in my county, one in the county next door. And more of the "we already knew, but told you late". One person checked into the hospital on Wednesday. We hear it Monday night. Both were ignored far a long time it seems, and 84 in particular are being watched (roommates, friends, hospital workers not alerted for several days, the usual). But no one knows every place they had been since becoming infected.

Oh, and they have tested a handful of people. No worry?

I can't see anyway that this level of incompetency is an accident. Spring break is just starting usually a 100's of thousand tourist bonanza.

So the question is do they want to kill us, or just keep us in fear?

I think the later. But the end result is a crap shoot. So once again, it is a gamble with our lives.

Archie1954 7h

The business of America is business. Sometimes that can go too far and this is one of those times. Making money from the loss, distress, harm and suffering of others is perverse beyond belief.

[Mar 04, 2020] The Myth of Moderate Nuclear War

Mar 04, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

There are many influential supporters of nuclear war, and some of these contend that the use of "low-yield" and/or short-range weapons is practicable without the possibility of escalation to all-out Armageddon. In a way their argument is comparable to that of the band of starry-eyed optimists who thought, apparently seriously, that there could be such a beast as a "moderate rebel."

In October 2013 the Washington Post reported that "The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, US-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country's civil war," and the US Congress gave approval to then President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State extremists. The belief that there could be any grouping of insurgents that could be described as "moderate rebels" is bizarre and it would be fascinating to know how Washington's planners classify such people. It obviously didn't dawn on them that any person who uses weapons illegally in a rebellion could not be defined as being moderate. And how moderate is moderate? Perhaps a moderate rebel could be equipped with US weapons that kill only extremists? Or are they allowed to kill only five children a month? The entire notion was absurd, and predictably the scheme collapsed, after expenditure of vast amounts of US taxpayers' money.

And even vaster amounts of money are being spent on developing and producing what might be classed as moderate nuclear weapons, in that they don't have the zillion-bang punch of most of its existing 4,000 plus warheads. It is apparently widely believed in Washington that if a nuclear weapon is (comparatively) small, then it's less dangerous than a big nuclear weapon.

In January 2019 the Guardian reported that "the Trump administration has argued the development of a low-yield weapon would make nuclear war less likely, by giving the US a more flexible deterrent. It would counter any enemy (particularly Russian) perception that the US would balk at using its own fearsome arsenal in response to a limited nuclear attack because its missiles were all in the hundreds of kilotons range and 'too big to use', because they would cause untold civilian casualties."

In fact, the nuclear war envisaged in that scenario would be a global catastrophe -- as would all nuclear wars, because there's no way, no means whatever, of limiting escalation. Once a nuclear weapon has exploded and killed people, the nuclear-armed nation to which these people belonged is going to take massive action. There is no alternative, because no government is just going to sit there and try to start talking with an enemy that has taken the ultimate leap in warfare.

It is widely imagined -- by many nuclear planners in the sub-continent, for example -- that use of a tactical, a battlefield-deployed, nuclear weapon will in some fashion persuade the opponent (India or Pakistan) that there is no need to employ higher-capability weapons, or, in other words, longer range missiles delivering massive warheads. These people think that the other side will evaluate the situation calmly and dispassionately and come to the conclusion that at most it should itself reply with a similar weapon. But such a scenario supposes that there is good intelligence about the effects of the weapon that has exploded, most probably within the opponent's sovereign territory. This is verging on the impossible.

War is confusing in the extreme, and tactical planning can be extremely complex. But there is no precedent for nuclear war, and nobody -- nobody -- knows for certain what reactions will be to such a situation in or near any nation. The US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review stated that low-yield weapons "help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely." But do the possible opponents of the United States agree with that? How could they do so?

The reaction by any nuclear-armed state to what is confirmed as a nuclear attack will have to be swift. It cannot be guaranteed, for example, that the first attack will not represent a series. It will, by definition, be decisive, because the world will then be a tiny step from doomsday. The US nuclear review is optimistic that "flexibility" will by some means limit a nuclear exchange, or even persuade the nuked-nation that there should be no riposte, which is an intriguing hypothesis.

As pointed out by Lawfare :

...the review calls for modification to 'a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warheads' to provide a low-yield option.

It also calls for further exploration of low-yield options, arguing that expanding these options will 'help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely.' This is intended to address the argument that adversaries might think the United States, out of concern for collateral damage, would hesitate to employ a high-yield nuclear weapon in response to a 'lower level' conflict, in which an adversary used a low-yield nuclear device. The review argues that expanding low-yield options is 'important for the preservation of credible deterrence,' especially when it comes to smaller-scale regional conflicts.

"Credible deterrence" is a favourite catch-phrase of the believers in limited nuclear war, but its credibility is suspect. Former US defence secretary William Perry said last year that he wasn't so much worried about the vast number of warheads in the world as he was by open proposals that these weapons are "usable". It's right back to the Cold War and he emphasises that "The belief that there might be tactical advantage using nuclear weapons – which I haven't heard being openly discussed in the United States or in Russia for a good many years – is happening now in those countries which I think is extremely distressing." But the perturbing thing is that while it is certainly being discussed in Moscow, it's verging on doctrine in Washington.

In late February US Defence Secretary Esper was reported as having taken part in a "classified military drill in which Russia and the United States traded nuclear strikes." The Pentagon stated that "The scenario included a European contingency where you're conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low-yield, limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory." The US response was to fire back with what was called a "limited response."

First of all, the notion that Russia would take the first step to nuclear war is completely baseless, and there is no evidence that this could ever be contemplated. But ever if it were to be so, it cannot be imagined for an instant that Washington would indulge in moderate nuclear warfare in riposte. These self-justifying wargames are dangerous. And they bring Armageddon ever closer.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Mar 04, 2020] Cyber Soldiers Penetrate the Skripal Case

Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Gilberts , Mar 4 2020 10:24 utc | 123

fyi Helmer reports cyber attacks...

Cyber Soldiers Penetrate the Skripal Case

https://twitter.com/bears_with/status/1235099510889566209

"Cyber attacks have been launched to stop you reading The Blogmire, Dances With Bears and the new book Skripal in Prison."

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Mar 03, 2020] Neoliberals curse

Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations.

[Mar 02, 2020] Truthdig

Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Feb 24, 2020 Print Bookmark Opinion | TD originals The Zionist Colonization of Palestine comments

Mr. Fish / Truthdig
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic hatreds. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land. It is a manufactured conflict, the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later Israel, backed by the British, the United States and other major imperial powers. This project is about the ongoing seizure of Palestinian land by the colonizers. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of Jewish colonization -- supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events -- sees Israel's defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism.

Rashid Khalidi , the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, in his book " The Hundred Years' War on Palestine : A History of Settler Colonization and Resistance, 1917-2017" has meticulously documented this long project of colonization of Palestine. His exhaustive research, which includes internal, private communications between the early Zionists and Israeli leadership, leaves no doubt that the Jewish colonizers were acutely aware from the start that the Palestinian people had to be subjugated and removed to create the Jewish state. The Jewish leadership was also acutely aware that its intentions had to be masked behind euphemisms, the patina of biblical legitimacy by Jews to a land that had been Muslim since the seventh century, platitudes about human and democratic rights, the supposed benefits of colonization to the colonized and a mendacious call for democracy and peaceful co-existence with those targeted for destruction.

"This is a unique colonialism that we've been subjected to where they have no use for us," Khalidi quotes Said as having written. "The best Palestinian for them," Said wrote, "is either dead or gone. It's not that they want to exploit us, or that they need to keep us there in the way of Algeria or South Africa as a subclass."

Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a response to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published "Der Judenstaat," or "The Jewish State," in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.

Britain's support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration , to support "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. It was undertaken by the ruling British elites to unite "international Jewry" -- including officials of Jewish descent in senior positions in the new Bolshevik state in Russia -- behind Britain's flagging military campaign in World War I. The British leaders were convinced that Jews secretly controlled the U.S. financial system. American Jews, once promised a homeland in Palestine, would, they thought, bring the United States into the war and help finance the war effort. To add to these bizarre anti-Semitic canards, the British believed that Jews and Dönmes -- or "crypto-Jews" whose ancestors had converted to Christianity but who continued to practice the rituals of Judaism in secret -- controlled the Turkish government. If the Zionists were given a homeland in Palestine, the British believed, the Jews and Dönmes would turn on the Turkish regime, which was allied with Germany in the war, and the Turkish government would collapse. World Jewry, the British were convinced, was the key to winning the war.

"With 'Great Jewry' against us," warned Britain's Sir Mark Sykes , who with the French diplomat François Georges-Picot created the secret treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France, there would be no possibility of victory. Zionism, Sykes said, was a powerful global subterranean force that was "atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken."

The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour , also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. "Palestine will become the world's ghetto," he warned.

This turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.

The European powers dealt with the Jewish refugee crisis by shipping victims of the Holocaust to the Middle East. So, while leading Zionists understood that they had to uproot and displace Arabs to establish a homeland, they were also acutely aware that they were not wanted in the countries from which they had fled or been expelled. The Zionists and their supporters may have mouthed slogans such as "a land without a people for a people without a land" in speaking of Palestine, but, as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, European powers were attempting to deal with the crime carried out against Jews in Europe by committing another crime, one against Palestinians. It was a recipe for endless conflict, especially since giving the Palestinians under occupation full democratic rights would risk loss of control of Israel by the Jews.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the godfather of the right-wing ideology that has dominated Israel since 1977, an ideology openly embraced by Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote bluntly in 1923: "Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of 'Palestine' into the 'Land of Israel.' "

This kind of public honesty, Khalidi notes, was rare among leading Zionists. Most of the Zionist leaders "protested the innocent purity of their aims and deceived their Western listeners, and perhaps themselves, with fairy tales about their benign intentions toward the Arab inhabitants of Palestine," he writes. The Zionists -- in a situation similar to that of today's supporters of Israel -- were aware it would be fatal to acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish homeland required the expulsion of the Arab majority. Such an admission would cause the colonizers to lose the world's sympathy. But among themselves the Zionists clearly understood that the use of armed force against the Arab majority was essential for the colonial project to succeed. "Zionist colonization can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population -- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach," Jabotinsky wrote.

The Jewish colonizers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. The Zionists' second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to Israel. Israel, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies but for its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement frightens Israel. It is also why I support the BDS movement.

The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs. They created organizations such as the Jewish Colonization Association, later called the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, to administer the Zionist project.

But, as Khalidi writes, "once colonialism took on a bad odor in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and Israel were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in Israel and the West. In fact, Zionism -- for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism -- rebranded itself as an anticolonial movement."

"Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms," Khalidi writes. "Indeed, those who analyze not only Israeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in Israel, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time."

One of the central tenets of the Zionist and Israeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and "non-Jews." "There were no such thing as Palestinians they did not exist," onetime Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir quipped. This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the "politicide" of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, "The surest way to eradicate a people's right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it."

The creation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

"By the summer of 1949, the Palestinian polity had been devastated and most of its society uprooted," Khalidi writes. "Some 80 percent of the Arab population of the territory that at war's end became the new state of Israel had been forced from their homes and lost their lands and property. At least 720,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were made refugees. Thanks to this violent transformation, Israel controlled 78 percent of the territory of former Mandatory Palestine, and now ruled over the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who had been able to remain, barely one-fifth of the prewar Arab population."

Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate Israeli reprisals and a demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of Israel, the United States and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the "permission to narrate."

The colonial project has poisoned Israel, as feared by its most prescient leaders, including Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist in 1995. Israel is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy -- which was always exclusively for Jews -- has been hijacked by extremists, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have implemented racial laws that were once championed mainly by marginalized fanatics such as Meir Kahane . The Israeli public is infected with racism. "Death to Arabs" is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Jewish mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the hapless African immigrants who live crammed into the slums of Tel Aviv. Israel has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law permits exclusively Jewish towns in Israel's Galilee region to bar applicants for residency on the basis of "suitability to the community's fundamental outlook." The late Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, wrote that "Israel's very existence is threatened by fascism."

In recent years, up to 1 million Israelis have left to live in the United States , many of them among Israel's most enlightened and educated citizens. Within Israel, human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists -- Israeli and Palestinian -- have found themselves vilified as traitors in government-sponsored smear campaigns, placed under state surveillance and subjected to arbitrary arrests. The Israeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The Israeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded. Israel runs the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, one of the largest detention centers in the world, where African immigrants can be held for up to three years without trial.

The great Jewish scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called "the conscience of Israel," saw the mortal danger to Israel of its colonial project. He warned that if Israel did not separate church and state and end its colonial occupation of the Palestinians it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult. "Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism," said Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He saw that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would result in the degeneration of the Jewish society and the death of democracy.

"Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam [a reference to the war waged by the United States in the 1970s], to a war in constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution," Leibowitz wrote. He foresaw that "the Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police -- mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people's army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations."

The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were tainted by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to Israel would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. Israel was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no role in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.

[Mar 02, 2020] It appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 1 2020 20:58 utc | 30

appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects Taliban prisoner release under U.S deal


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected on Sunday a Taliban demand for the release of 5,000 prisoners as a condition for talks with Afghanistan's government and civilians – included in a deal between the United States and the Islamist militants.

"The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners," Ghani told reporters in Kabul, a day after the deal was signed in Qatar to start a political settlement aimed at ending the United States' longest war.[.]

was the Afghan government not a party to the negotiations? Strange!

[Mar 02, 2020] The myth of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets

It was a stalemate, in which Afghan government held power over central towns and mujahidins over part of provinces. Neither can defeat each other. This stalemate was ruptured by the collapse of the USSR.
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Mar 1 2020 18:54 utc | 17
Afghanistan
Now that the Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan perhaps they'll go back with a more critical eye to look at what happened in the Afghan-Soviet war against the mujaheddin. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw because it had reached a stalemate but the communist government managed to soldier on for three more years, and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union for financial reasons that resulted in funds being cutoff to the communist government that in turn led to the collapse of the government, so the Soviet Union was not brought down/defeated by the mujaheddin.
Will coronavirus lead to the collapse of the Washington establishment? I don't know if it will but the descendants of the mujaheddin will no doubt claim responsibility for the defeat of the United States if it occurs.
Yet again, Washington demonstrates that it doesn't really understand war.

[Mar 02, 2020] China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia The National Interest

Mar 02, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia

February 29, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Eurasia Tags: China Russia Military Weapons War China Is Prepared to Reap the Strategic Rewards of Its Relationship With Russia

Moscow has transferred more than five hundred aircraft -- large military transports, early warning aircraft, refueling aircraft, attack jets, and fighter interceptors -- to Beijing since 1990.

by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Chinese air power these days is something to behold. In the course of just about thirty years, Beijing's aerial inventory has gone from quite obsolete to cutting edge. It's worth noting, moreover, that Chinese airpower is but one tool that Beijing can wield in the skies. If its massive missile forces perform as expected, destroying adversary runways, then there will be few enemy aircraft getting into the air to contest the supremacy of China's fighters and bombers -- or at least very few of them will be able to gain access to much of the western Pacific.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-12130885885741670-935&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=eastwestaccord.com&width=550

[Mar 01, 2020] Countering Nationalist Oligarchy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
The article is mostly junk. But it contains some important insights into the rise of Trympism (aka "national neoliberalism") -- nationalist oligarchy. Including the following " the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist."
The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change. The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change.
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism: A Warning ..."
"... Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America ..."
"... the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist. ..."
"... The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy ..."
"... Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them. ..."
"... Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. ..."
"... Classical Greek Oligarchy ..."
"... Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." ..."
"... We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. ..."
"... The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship. ..."
"... The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars ..."
"... The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | democracyjournal.org
from Winter 2019, No. 51 – 31 MIN READ

Tagged Authoritarianism Democracy Foreign Policy Government nationalism oligarchy

Ever since the 2016 election, foreign policy commentators and practitioners have been engaged in a series of soul-searching exercises to understand the great transformations taking place in the world -- and to articulate a framework appropriate to the challenges of our time. Some have looked backwards, arguing that the liberal international order is collapsing, while others question whether it ever existed. Another group seems to hope the current messiness is simply a blip and that foreign policy will return to normalcy after it passes. Perhaps the most prominent group has identified today's great threat as the rise of authoritarianism, autocracy, and illiberal democracy. They fear that constitutional democracy is receding as norms are broken and institutions are under siege.

Unfortunately, this approach misunderstands the nature of the current crisis. The challenge we face today is not one of authoritarianism, as so many seem inclined to believe, but of nationalist oligarchy. This form of government feeds populism to the people, delivers special privileges to the rich and well-connected, and rigs politics to sustain its regime.

... ... ..

Authoritarianism or What?

Across the political spectrum, commentators and scholars have identified -- and warned of -- the global rise of autocracies and authoritarian governments. They cite Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, among others. Distinguished commentators are increasingly worried. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently published a book called Fascism: A Warning . Cass Sunstein gathered a variety of scholars for a collection titled, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America .

The authoritarian lens is familiar from the heroic narrative of democracy defeating autocracies in the twentieth century. But as a framework for understanding today's central geopolitical challenges, it is far too narrow. This is mainly because those who are worried about the rise of authoritarianism and the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics. Their emphasis is almost exclusively political and constitutional -- free speech, voting rights, equal treatment for minorities, independent courts, and the like. But politics and economics cannot be dissociated from each other, and neither are autonomous from social and cultural factors. Statesmen and philosophers used to call this "political economy." Political economy looks at economic and political relationships in concert, and it is attentive to how power is exercised. If authoritarianism is the future, there must be a story of its political economy -- how it uses politics and economics to gain and hold power. Yet the rise-of-authoritarianism theorists have less to say about these dynamics.

To be sure, many commentators have discussed populist movements throughout Europe and America, and there has been no shortage of debate on the extent to which a generation of widening economic inequality has been a contributing factor in their rise. But whatever the causes of popular discontent, the policy preferences of the people, and the bloviating rhetoric of leaders, the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist.

The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy , Jeffrey Winters calls it "wealth defense." Elites engage in "property defense," protecting what they already have, and "income defense," preserving and extending their ability to hoard more. Importantly, oligarchy as a governing strategy accounts for both politics and economics. Oligarchs use economic power to gain and hold political power and, in turn, use politics to expand their economic power.

Those who worry about the rise of authoritarianism and fear the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics.

The trouble for oligarchs is that their regime involves rule by a small number of wealthy elites. In even a nominally democratic society, and most countries around the world today are at least that, it should be possible for the much larger majority to overthrow the oligarchy with either the ballot or the bullet. So how can oligarchy persist? This is where both nationalism and authoritarianism come into play. Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them.

The divide-and-conquer strategy is an old one, and it works through a combination of coercion and co-optation. Nationalism -- whether statist, ethnic, religious, or racial -- serves both functions. It aligns a portion of ordinary people with the ruling oligarchy, mobilizing them to support the regime and sacrifice for it. At the same time, it divides society, ensuring that the nationalism-inspired will not join forces with everyone else to overthrow the oligarchs. We thus see fearmongering about minorities and immigrants, and claims that the country belongs only to its "true" people, whom the leaders represent. Activating these emotional, cultural, and political identities makes it harder for citizens in the country to unite across these divides and challenge the regime.

Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. Tactics like these are not new. They have existed, as Matthew Simonton shows in his book Classical Greek Oligarchy , since at least the time of Pericles and Plato. The consequence, then as now, is that nationalist oligarchies can continue to deliver economic policies to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

It is worth noting that even the generation that waged war against fascism in Europe understood that the challenge to democracy in their time was not just political, but economic and social as well. They believed that the rise of Nazism was tied to the concentration of economic power in Germany, and that cartels and monopolies not only cooperated with and served the Nazi state, but helped its rise and later sustained it. As New York Congressman Emanuel Celler, one of the authors of the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, said, quoting a report filed by Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, "Germany under the Nazi set-up built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power, and forced virtually the whole world into war." After World War II, Marshall Plan experts not only rebuilt Europe but also exported aggressive American antitrust and competition laws to the continent because they believed political democracy was impossible without economic democracy.

Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. Electoral losers in places like North Carolina seek to entrench their power rather than accept defeat. The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship.

Addressing our domestic economic and social crises is critical to defending democracy, and a grand strategy for America's future must incorporate both domestic and foreign policy. But while many have recognized that reviving America's middle class and re-stitching our social fabric are essential to saving democracy, less attention has been paid to how American foreign policy should be reformed in order to defend democracy from the threat of nationalist oligarchy.

The Varieties of Nationalist Oligarchy

Just as there are many variations on liberal democracy -- the Swedish model, the French model, the American model -- there are many varieties of nationalist oligarchy. The story is different in every country, but the elements of nationalist oligarchy are trending all over the world.

... ... ...

... the European Union funds Hungary's oligarchy, as Orbán draws on EU money to fund about 60 percent of the state projects that support "the new Fidesz-linked business elite." Nor do Orbán and his allies do much to hide the country's crony capitalist model. András Lánczi, president of a Fidesz-affiliated think tank, has boldly stated that "if something is done in the national interest, then it is not corruption." "The new capitalist ruling class," one Hungarian banker comments, "make their money from the government."

The commentator Jan-Werner Müller captures Orbán's Hungary this way: "Power is secured through wide-ranging control of the judiciary and the media; behind much talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically."

Crony capitalism, coupled with resurgent nationalism and central government control, is also an issue in China. While some commentators have emphasized "state capitalism" -- when government has a significant ownership stake in companies -- this phenomenon is not to be confused with crony capitalism. Some countries with state capitalism, like Norway, are widely seen as extremely non-corrupt and, indeed, are often held up as models of democracy. State capitalism itself is thus not necessarily a problem. Crony capitalism, in contrast, is an "instrumental union between capitalists and politicians designed to allow the former to acquire wealth, legally or otherwise, and the latter to seek and retain power." This is the key difference between state capitalism and oligarchy.

... ... ...

Ganesh Sitaraman is a professor of law and Chancellor's faculty fellow at Vanderbilt Law School, and the author of The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic .

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 29, 2020] A very interesting and though provoking presentation by Ambassador Chas Freeman "America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change"

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. ..."
"... The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not. ..."
Feb 29, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 29, 2020 7:38 pm

A very interesting and though provoking presentation by Ambassador Chas Freeman "America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvILLCbOFo4

I think this would be very informative for anybody seriously interested in the USA foreign policy. Listening to him is so sad to realize that instead of person of his caliber we have Pompous Pompeo, who forever is frozen on the level of a tank repair mechanical engineer, as the Secretary of State.

Published on Feb 24, 2020

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior.

The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School.

He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.

He is the author of several books including the most recent

Interesting times: China, America, and the shifting balance of prestige (2013)

[Feb 28, 2020] Media s Deafening Silence On Latest WikiLeaks Drops Is Its Own Scandal by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Yet the mass media, freakishly, has had absolutely nothing to say about this extremely newsworthy story. ..."
"... The mass media's stone-dead silence on the OPCW scandal is becoming its own scandal, of equal or perhaps even greater significance than the OPCW scandal itself. It opens up a whole litany of questions which have tremendous importance for every citizen of the western world; questions like, how are people supposed to participate in democracy if all the outlets they normally turn to to make informed voting decisions adamantly refuse to tell them about the existence of massive news stories like the OPCW scandal? How are people meant to address such conspiracies of silence when there is no mechanism in place to hold the entire mass media to account for its complicity in it? And by what mechanism are all these outlets unifying in that conspiracy of silence? ..."
"... This is the FOURTH leak showing how the OPCW fabricated a report on a supposed Syrian 'chemical' attack," tweeted journalist Ben Norton. "And mainstream Western corporate media outlets are still silent, showing how authoritarian these 'democracies' are and how tightly they control info." "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," "Media silence on this story is its own scandal," tweeted journalist Aaron Maté. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | caitlinjohnstone.com

This is getting really, really, really weird. WikiLeaks has WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we've been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.

... ... ...

[Feb 28, 2020] Chas Freeman America in Distress The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change

Highly recommended!
I think everybody should listen the initial 47 minutes
Notable quotes:
"... Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle. ..."
"... Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one ..."
"... Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business? ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/mvILLCbOFo4

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.


Trade Prosper , 3 days ago (edited)

Well worth the watch and hope more see it, especially the presentation in the initial 47 minutes. We Americans take our deficits and the $ as the reserve currency far too lightly.

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago

Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle.

yes it's me , 3 days ago

Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one

Bob Trajkoski , 3 days ago

Way the US is Warmongering state and threat to humanity, on the planet.? Nukes in the hand's of gangsters

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago (edited)

No, not mercenaries, this is a protection racket. The U.N. address in late 2018 by the President (the laughter spoke volumes) was about as insightful as a "goodfellas" scene where the shakedown of the little guy is highlighted. It was the speeches by other countries at the meeting that was most informative.

A definitive pullback from U.S. hegemony was palpable, real, and un-moderated. Large and small countries all expressed an unwillingness to be held under the thumb of the global bully. This is the result of having an over abundance of a particle within D.C.; not the electron, photon, or neutron...but the moron.

Frank , 3 days ago

Aura of imperial purpose.

Dan Good , 7 hours ago

Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business?

[Feb 28, 2020] Russia s Relationship With China Is Growing Despite Setbacks by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Russia has closed major border crossings with China across the Far East due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. That constitutes a significant blow to a trading relationship that had only just begun to fully blossom. The closures come just as new auto and rail bridges spanning the Amur River are finally reaching completion.

The primary line of debate among Russia-China relations analysts is whether the "rapprochement" is robust and tending toward even a genuine alliance or whether it is weak and has little to show for decades of cooperation other than a few rhetorical flourishes. After all, the skeptics note, if this bilateral relationship is so robust, then why did it take so long to get those bridges built?

The China-Russia trading relationship does indeed remain underdeveloped and will evidently face additional headwinds in the near future (along with all of China's trading relationships, so it seems). But the importance of security ties can hardly be disputed, especially if one takes the long view. Could China have fought the United States to a stalemate in the Korean War without Soviet military assistance? Not a chance. More recently, Russia's sale of high-tech air and naval weaponry during the 1990s and 2000s created a solid foundation for today's muscle-bound dragon with both claws (DF-26) and sharp fangs (e.g. YJ-18). But will it go further?

A tantalizing hint was offered by Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Conference in early October 2019. During his remarks, he dropped the following bombshell: "I probably won't open a big secret. It'll become clear anyhow. We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile attack warning system. This is a very serious thing, which will increase the defense capability of the People's Republic of China in a fundamental way. Because now only the USA and Russia have such a system [Большой тайны, наверно, не открою. Все равно это станет ясно. Мы сейчас помогаем нашим китайским партнерам создать систему СПРН – систему предупреждения о ракетном нападении. Это очень серьезная вещь, которая капитальным, кардинальным образом повысит обороноспособность Китайской Народной Республики. Потому что сейчас такую систему имеют только США и Россия]." This seemingly major step forward in Russia-China military cooperation demands greater scrutiny. It also provides an interesting opportunity to gauge opinion among Russian strategists regarding the long-term viability of a close military partnership with the Middle Kingdom.

One impressively comprehensive Russian appraisal begins by stating that "Russia had to look for various options for answering Washington's actions" to withdraw from the INF Treaty. The same article notes somewhat ominously that the United States is preparing in case of "accidental nuclear war with Russia." Employing the Russian acronym "SPRN" literally "warning systems against rocket attack [системы предупреждения о ракетном нападении]" for early warning system, this assessment also makes the important point that Russia's SPRN has only recently completed a long process of upgrades meant to fill "gaps [разрывы]" caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, when key facilities for early warning were located in non-Russian parts of the USSR.

The article quotes one Moscow defense expert, Igor Korotchenko [Игор Коротченко], as offering the following assessment: "This is really a huge contribution of Russia to strategic stability, since China receives a powerful tool in order not to become a victim of the first disarming blow from the United States." Another Russian expert, Konstantin Sivkov [Константин Сивков], maintained that this move would enhance "global stability" but also articulated some concern with respect to Russia's long-term interests. "When China has at its disposal all the technologies that Russia has at its disposal, or creates similar ones, it will cease to need Russia as a defender," Sivkov said. "And this could adversely affect Russian-Chinese relations." Korotchenko, however, is more bullish on the long-term prospects for the defense relationship with Beijing. He underlined the commercial prospects for Russian companies, and added that the early warning initiative will "contribute to the further rapprochement of Russia and China, building a common security policy [поспособствует дальнейшему сближению России и Китая, выстраиванию общей политики в области безопасности]."

That's an interesting disagreement among Russian security specialists, for sure, but another rather significant observation regarding these developments was offered in this same article by the former deputy commander of Russia's air defense command, Alexander Luzan [Александр Лузан]. He contends that Russia will benefit from the enhanced cooperation with Beijing on an early warning. Luzan explains that the ground components of Russia's SPRN are comprised of []long range "Voronezh" [Воронеж] radars that can see out four thousand to six thousand kilometers to detect ICBM launches. Short-range "Sunflower [Подсолнухи]" radars are more suitable for warning of short-range launches, but also offer ship-detection capabilities. Directly reflecting on operational advantages for the Russian military, Luzan observes: "Vladivostok and Primorye are protected here, but there is nothing 'in depth.' We once tried to deploy our facilities in Mongolia, but it didn't work out very well. Therefore, if the Chinese close this 'tongue,' it will be very important for Russia [Владивосток и Приморье у нас защищены, а 'в глубину' там ничего нет. Мы когда-то в Монголии пытались разместить свои комплексы, но не очень получилось. Потому если китайцы этот 'язычок' закроют, то для России это будет очень важно]." Again citing this Russian general, the article states that "a unified information space is created and data is exchanged with Chinese radars, [and therefore] 'the security of our country from the east will be even better.'"

Such interpretations are generally in accord with the analysis of Vladimir Petrovsky [Владимир Петровский,], a senior fellow and military specialist at Moscow's Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This analyst writes that many believe that Putin's announcement of this strategic cooperation initiative at Valdai signals that "the military alliance between Russia and China . . . has finally become real." Petrovsky also notes that other specialists have begun to speculate on the meaning of a "retaliatory strike" under such circumstances, wherein the early warning is relayed by a third country. He quotes the Russian president (speaking at Valdai) further on the matter of motives for new missile deployments in the Asia-Pacific region: "we suddenly heard from the American military that the first step in this direction would be taken just in Asia. But that step also impacts on us, because we need to understand: where in Asia, will Russian territory be endangered or not? By the way, it's immediately clear what was the root cause of the exit: not Russia and not mythical violations of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty by us. If they are going to put [U.S. missiles] in Asia, then Asia is the primary reason for withdrawing from this Treaty [вдруг услышали от американских военных, что первый шаг в этом направлении будет сделан как раз в Азии. Но он и нас затрагивает, потому что надо понять: где в Азии, будет доставать это российскую территорию или нет? Кстати говоря, сразу понятно, что было первопричиной выхода: не Россия и не мифические нарушения нами Договора. Если они собираются ставить в Азии, то Азия и является первопричиной выхода из этого Договора]." In other words, Putin's announcement of this initiative to accelerate military cooperation with China is intended, in part, as a response to the United States' move to exit the INF accord.

Strongly hinting that Beijing might well gain access to Russian early-warning radars based in the Arctic, Petrovsky observes, "Taking into account geography, it is quite possible to develop protocols for the exchange of data between national SPRN." He further contends that this early warning cooperation will be "mutually beneficial and not without compensation [эта помощь -- взаимовыгодная и небезвозмездная]." This military expert explains that China still can learn from Russian radar proficiency, but also implies that the Russian side may gain some advantages from China's evident prowess in microelectronics, for example. Moreover, he suggests, "a possible Chinese satellite constellation could be a good addition to Russian orbital facilities." Still, Petrovsky concludes that Russia and China "are not creating a military-political alliance. It is rather a matter of coordinating the military policies." Playing down the significance of this new initiative, this specialist also notes that Russia and China have been holding annual ballistic missile defense command and staff exercises for about a decade already.

[Feb 27, 2020] An interesting view on Russian "intelligencia" by the scientist and writer Zinoviev expressed during "perestroika" in 1991

Highly recommended!
Feb 27, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

If intellectuals replace the current professional politicians as the leaders of society the situation would become much worse. Because they have neither the sense of reality, nor common sense. For them, the words and speeches are more important than the actual social laws and the dominant trends, the dominant social dynamics of the society. The psychological principle of the intellectuals is that we could organize everything much better, but we are not allowed to do it.

But the actual situation is as following: they could organize the life of society as they wish and plan, in the way they view is the best only if under conditions that are not present now are not feasible in the future. Therefore they are not able to act even at the level of current leaders of the society, which they despise. The actual leaders are influenced by social pressures, by the current social situation, but at least they doing something. Intellectuals are unhappy that the real stream of life they are living in. They consider it wrong. that makes them very dangerous, because they look really smart, while in reality being sophisticated professional idiots.

[Feb 23, 2020] Previously oppressed group, given a lucky chance, most often strive for dominance and oppression of other groups including and especially former dominant group. This is an eternal damnation of ethno/cultural nationalism

Highly recommended!
Dec 29, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.28.19 at 9:17 am

Peter T 12.28.19 at 5:50 am @38

I'm finding it hard to think of examples where the formerly norm-giving group becomes derided or humiliated.

You can probably try to look at the situation in (now independent) republics of the former USSR. Simplifying previously oppressed group, given a lucky chance, most often strive for dominance and oppression of other groups including and especially former dominant group. This is an eternal damnation of ethno/cultural nationalism.

And not only it (look at Mutual Help and The State in Shantytowns.) In them ethnic comminutes often own protection markets, offer services that hire people and replace the state, pay off gang leaders. they also provide some community support for particular ethnic group, enforce the rules of trade within themselves, etc. In GB the abuse of children by ethnic gangs was sickening ( https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/sep/30/abuse-children-asian-communities )

In many cases of ethnic/cultural nationalism this looks more like a competition for resources with the smoke screen of noble intentions/human rights/past oppression/ humiliations/etc

Or you can look at the language policy in the USA and the actual situation in some areas/institutions of Florida and California and how English speakers feel in those areas/institutions. Or in some areas of Quebec in Canada.

That actually suggests another meaning of famous Randolph Bourne quote " War is the health of the state " (said in the midst of the First World War.) It bring the unity unachievable in peace time or by any other methods, albeit temporarily (from Ch 14. Howard Zinn book A People's History of the United States ):

the governments flourished, patriotism bloomed, class struggle was stilled, and young men died in frightful numbers on the battlefields-often for a hundred yards of land, a line of trenches.

In the United States, not yet in the war, there was worry about the health of the state. Socialism was growing. The IWW seemed to be everywhere. Class conflict was intense. In the summer of 1916, during a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco, a bomb exploded, killing nine people; two local radicals, Tom Mooney and Warren Billings, were arrested and would spend twenty years in prison. Shortly after that Senator James Wadsworth of New York suggested compulsory military training for all males to avert the danger that "these people of ours shall be divided into classes." Rather: "We must let our young men know that they owe some responsibility to this country."

The supreme fulfillment of that responsibility was taking place in Europe. Ten million were to die on the battlefield; 20 million were to die of hunger and disease related to the war. And no one since that day has been able to show that the war brought any gain for humanity that would be worth one human life. The rhetoric of the socialists, that it was an "imperialist war," now seems moderate and hardly arguable. The advanced capitalist countries of Europe were fighting over boundaries, colonies, spheres of influence; they were competing for Alsace-Lorraine, the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East.

Neo-McCarthyism now serves a somewhat similar purpose in the USA. Among other thing (like absolving Hillary from her fiasco to "deux ex machine" trick instead of real reason -- the crisis and rejection of neoliberalism by the sizable strata of the USA population) it is an attempt to unify the nation after 2016.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 23, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler The Last General To Criticize US Imperialism by Danny Sjursen

Here's a link to a free online copy of War is a Racket if anyone wants to read it. It's a short read. Pretty good too. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
From comments (Is the USA government now a "regime"): In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them). Regimes disobey international law. Like America's habit of blowing up wedding parties with drones or the illegal presence of its troops in Syria, Iraq and God knows where else. Regimes carry out illegal assassination programs – I need say no more here than Qasem Soleimani. Regimes use their economic power to bully and impose their will – sanctioning countries even when they know those sanctions will, for example, be responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (the 'price worth paying', remember?). Regimes renege on international treaties – like Iran nuclear treaty, for example. Regimes imprison and hound whistle-blowers – like Chelsea manning and Julian Assange. Regimes imprison people. America is the world leader in incarceration. It has 2.2 million people in its prisons (more than China which has 5 times the US's population), that's 25% of the world's prison population for 5% of the world's population, Why does America need so many prisoners? Because it has a massive, prison-based, slave labour business that is hugely profitable for the oligarchy.
Regimes censor free speech. Just recently, we've seen numerous non-narrative following journalists and organisations kicked off numerous social media platforms. I didn't see lots of US senators standing up and saying 'I disagree completely with what you say but I will fight to the death to preserve your right to say it'. Did you?
Regimes are ruled by cliques. I don't need to tell you that America is kakistocratic Oligarchy ruled by a tiny group of evil, rich, Old Men, do I?
Regimes keep bad company. Their allies are other 'regimes', and they're often lumped together by using another favourite presstitute term – 'axis of evil'. America has its own little axis of evil. It's two main allies are Saudi Arabia – a homophobic, women hating, head chopping, terrorist financing state currently engaged in a war of genocide (assisted by the US) in Yemen – and the racist, genocidal undeclared nuclear power state of Israel.
Regimes commit human rights abuses. Here we could talk about…ooh…let's think. Last year's treatment of child refugees from Latin America, the execution of African Americans for 'walking whilst black' by America's militarized, criminal police force or the millions of dollars in cash and property seized from entirely innocent Americans by that same police force under 'civil forfeiture' laws or maybe we could mention huge American corporations getting tax refunds whilst ordinary Americans can't afford decent, effective healthcare.
Regimes finance terrorism. Mmmm….just like America financed terrorists to help destroy Syria and Libya and invested $5 billion dollars to install another regime – the one of anti-Semites and Nazis in Ukraine…
Highly recommended!
Some comments edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. ..."
"... "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." ..."
"... Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests. ..."
"... When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars. ..."
"... The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques. ..."
"... Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star. ..."
"... At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had. ..."
"... One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day. ..."
"... That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington. ..."
"... Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity... ..."
"... Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads. ..."
"... Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw). ..."
"... Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended! ..."
"... "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels ..."
"... The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti: ..."
"... The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ..."
"... If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TomDispatch.com,

There once lived an odd little man - five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet - who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country's most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

Raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and educated in Quaker (pacifist) schools, the son of an influential congressman, he would end up serving in nearly all of America's " Banana Wars " from 1898 to 1931. Wounded in combat and a rare recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, he would retire as the youngest, most decorated major general in the Marines.

A teenage officer and a certified hero during an international intervention in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he would later become a constabulary leader of the Haitian gendarme, the police chief of Philadelphia (while on an approved absence from the military), and a proponent of Marine Corps football. In more standard fashion, he would serve in battle as well as in what might today be labeled peacekeeping , counterinsurgency , and advise-and-assist missions in Cuba, China, the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France, and China (again). While he showed early signs of skepticism about some of those imperial campaigns or, as they were sardonically called by critics at the time, " Dollar Diplomacy " operations -- that is, military campaigns waged on behalf of U.S. corporate business interests -- until he retired he remained the prototypical loyal Marine.

But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. He began to blast the imperialist foreign policy and interventionist bullying in which he'd only recently played such a prominent part. Eventually, in 1935 during the Great Depression, in what became a classic passage in his memoir, which he titled "War Is a Racket," he wrote:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

Seemingly overnight, the famous war hero transformed himself into an equally acclaimed antiwar speaker and activist in a politically turbulent era. Those were, admittedly, uncommonly anti-interventionist years, in which veterans and politicians alike promoted what (for America, at least) had been fringe ideas. This was, after all, the height of what later pro-war interventionists would pejoratively label American " isolationism ."

Nonetheless, Butler was unique (for that moment and certainly for our own) in his unapologetic amenability to left-wing domestic politics and materialist critiques of American militarism. In the last years of his life, he would face increasing criticism from his former admirer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the military establishment, and the interventionist press. This was particularly true after Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland and later France. Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind, hindsight undoubtedly proved Butler's virulent opposition to U.S. intervention in World War II wrong.

Nevertheless, the long-term erasure of his decade of antiwar and anti-imperialist activism and the assumption that all his assertions were irrelevant has proven historically deeply misguided. In the wake of America's brief but bloody entry into the First World War, the skepticism of Butler (and a significant part of an entire generation of veterans) about intervention in a new European bloodbath should have been understandable. Above all, however, his critique of American militarism of an earlier imperial era in the Pacific and in Latin America remains prescient and all too timely today, especially coming as it did from one of the most decorated and high-ranking general officers of his time. (In the era of the never-ending war on terror, such a phenomenon is quite literally inconceivable.)

Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests.

Nonetheless, whereas this country's imperial campaigns of the first third of the twentieth century generated a Smedley Butler, the hyper-interventionism of the first decades of this century hasn't produced a single even faintly comparable figure. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Why that is matters and illustrates much about the U.S. military establishment and contemporary national culture, none of it particularly encouraging.

Why No Antiwar Generals

When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America's forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn't make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports , "the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs." At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.

Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or " COINdinista " protégés and their " new " war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here's the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America's most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country's wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.

At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had.

More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he's turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power -hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

What Would Smedley Butler Think Today?

In his years of retirement, Smedley Butler regularly focused on the economic component of America's imperial war policies. He saw clearly that the conflicts he had fought in, the elections he had helped rig, the coups he had supported, and the constabularies he had formed and empowered in faraway lands had all served the interests of U.S. corporate investors. Though less overtly the case today, this still remains a reality in America's post-9/11 conflicts, even on occasion embarrassingly so (as when the Iraqi ministry of oil was essentially the only public building protected by American troops as looters tore apart the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in the post-invasion chaos of April 2003). Mostly, however, such influence plays out far more subtly than that, both abroad and here at home where those wars help maintain the record profits of the top weapons makers of the military-industrial complex.

That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington.

Of course, he served in a very different moment, one in which military funding and troop levels were still contested in Congress. As a longtime critic of capitalist excesses who wrote for leftist publications and supported the Socialist Party candidate in the 1936 presidential elections, Butler would have found today's nearly trillion-dollar annual defense budgets beyond belief. What the grizzled former Marine long ago identified as a treacherous nexus between warfare and capital "in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" seems to have reached its natural end point in the twenty-first century. Case in point: the record (and still rising ) "defense" spending of the present moment, including -- to please a president -- the creation of a whole new military service aimed at the full-scale militarization of space .

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

Of course, Butler didn't exactly end his life triumphantly. In late May 1940, having lost 25 pounds due to illness and exhaustion -- and demonized as a leftist, isolationist crank but still maintaining a whirlwind speaking schedule -- he checked himself into the Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital for a "rest." He died there, probably of some sort of cancer, four weeks later. Working himself to death in his 10-year retirement and second career as a born-again antiwar activist, however, might just have constituted the very best service that the two-time Medal of Honor winner could have given the nation he loved to the very end.

Someone of his credibility, character, and candor is needed more than ever today. Unfortunately, this military generation is unlikely to produce such a figure. In retirement, Butler himself boldly confessed that, "like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical..."

Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity...

2 minutes ago
Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads.
14 minutes ago
TULSI GABBARD.

Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw).

The US Space Force has been created as part of a plan to disclose the deep state's Secret Space Program (SSP), which has been active for decades, and which has utilized, and repressed, advanced technologies that would provide free, unlimited renewable energy, and thus eliminate hunger and poverty on a planetary scale.

14 minutes ago
14 minutes ago

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

29 minutes ago

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

This is why I feel an oath keeping constitutionally oriented American general is what we need in power, clear out all 545 criminals in office now, review their finances (and most of them will roll over on the others) and punish accordingly, then the lobbyist, how many of them worked against the country? You know what we do with those.

And then, finally, Hollywood, oh yes I long to see that **** hole burn with everyone in it.

30 minutes ago
Republicrat: the two faces of the moar war whore.
32 minutes ago

Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind

Do tell, from what I've read the Nazis were really only a threat to a few groups, the rest of us didn't need to worry.

35 minutes ago
Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended!

Why are we sending our children out into the hellholes of the world to be maimed and killed in the fauxjew banksters' quest for world domination.

How stupid can we be!

41 minutes ago
(Edited) "Smedley Butler"... The last time the UCMJ was actually used before being permanently turned into a "door stop"!
49 minutes ago
He was correct about our staying out of WWII. Which, BTW, would have never happened if we had stayed out of WWI.
22 minutes ago
(Edited) Both wars were about the international fauxjew imposition of debt-money central bankstering.

Both wars were promulgated by the Financial oligarchyof New York. The communist Red Army of Russia was funded and supplied by the Financial oligarchyof New York. It was American Financial oligarchythat built the Russian Red Army that vexed the world and created the Cold War. How many hundreds of millions of goyim were sacrificed to create both the Russian and the Chinese Satanic behemoths.......and the communist horror that is now embedded in American academia, publishing, American politics, so-called news, entertainment, The worldwide Catholic religion, the Pentagon, and the American deep state.......and more!

How stupid can we be. Every generation has the be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the eternal maw of historical ignorance to avoid falling back into the myriad dark hellholes of history. As we all should know, people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.

53 minutes ago
Today's General is a robot with with a DNA.
54 minutes ago
All the General Staff is a bunch of #asskissinglittlechickenshits
57 minutes ago
want to stop senseless Empire wars>>well do this

War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit.. If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start? 1 hour ago

Here is a simple straightforward trading maxim that might apply here: if it works or is working keep doing it, but if it doesn't work or stops working, then STOP doing it. There are plenty of people, now poorer, for not adhering to that simple principle. Where is the Taxpayer's return on investment from the Combat taking place on their behalf around the globe? 'Nuff said - it isn't working. It is making a microscopic few richer & all others poorer so STOP doing it. 36 seconds ago We don't have to look far to figure out who they are that are getting rich off the fauxjew permawars.

How can we be so stupid???

1 hour ago

See also:

TULSI GABBARD

1 hour ago

The main reason you don't see the generals criticizing is that the current crop have not been in actual long term direct combat with the enemy and have mostly been bureaucratic paper pushers.

Take the Marine Major General who is the current commander of CENTCOM. By the time he got into the Iraq/Afghanistan war he was already a Lieutenant Colonel and far removed from direct action.

He was only there on and off for a few years. Here are some of his other career highlights aft as they appear on his official bio:

In short, these top guys aren't warriors they're bureaucrats so why would we expect them to be honest brokers of the truth?

51 minutes ago

are U saying Chesty Puller he's NOT? 1 hour ago
(Edited) The purpose of war is to ensure that the Federal Reserve Note remains the world reserve paper currency of choice by keeping it relevant and in demand across the globe by forcing pesky energy producing nations to trade with it exclusively.

It is a 49 year old policy created by the private owners of quasi public institutions called central banks to ensure they remain the Wizards of Oz doing gods work conjuring magic paper into existence with a secret spell known as issuing credit.

How else is a technologically advanced society of billions of people supposed to function w/out this divinely inspired paper?

1 hour ago

Goebbels in "Churchill's Lie Factory" where he said: "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels, "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," 12. january 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

1 hour ago

The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti:

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/imperialism.html

49 minutes ago
"Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders."

Why would it when they who control academia, media and most of our politicians are our enemies.

1 hour ago

"The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; ..."

Yep, Wilkerson, who leaked Valerie Plame's name, not that it was a leak, to Novak, and then stood by to watch the grand jury fry Scooter Libby. Wilkerson, that paragon of moral rectitude. Wilkerson the silent, that *******.

sheesh,

1 hour ago
(Edited)

" A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

James Madison Friday June 29, 1787

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_629.asp

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789])

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs6.html

1 hour ago

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps. - M. PARENTI, Against empire

See Alexander Parvus

1 hour ago

Collapse is the cure. It's too far gone.

1 hour ago

Russia Wants to 'Jam' F-22 and F-35s in the Middle East: Report

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-wants-jam-f-22-and-f-35s-middle-east-report-121041

1 hour ago

ZH retards think that the American mic is bad and all other mics are good or don't exist. That's the power of brainwashing. Humans understand that war in general is bad, but humans are becoming increasingly rare in this world.

1 hour ago

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

https://truthout.org/articles/the-dangers-of-american-fascism/

2 hours ago
The swamp is bigger than the military alone. Substitute Bureaucrat, Statesman, or Beltway Bandit for General and Colonel in your writing above and you've got a whole new article to post that is just as true.
2 hours ago
(Edited) War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit..If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start?
2 hours ago [edited for clarity]
War is a racket. And nobody loves a racket more than Financial oligarchy. Americans come close though, that's why Financial oligarchy use them to project their own rackets and provide protection reprisals.

[Feb 21, 2020] Why Both Republicans And Democrats Want Russia To Become The Enemy Of Choice by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here." ..."
"... Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke." ..."
"... On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible. ..."
"... Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. ..."
"... It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. ..."
"... Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves. ..."
"... What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets ..."
"... It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy. ..."
"... The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the more interesting aspects of the nauseating impeachment trial in the Senate was the repeated vilification of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

To hate Russia has become dogma on both sides of the political aisle, in part because no politician has really wanted to confront the lesson of the 2016 election, which was that most Americans think that the federal government is basically incompetent and staffed by career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell who should return back home and get real jobs .

Worse still, it is useless, and much like the one trick pony the only thing it can do is steal money from the taxpayers and waste it on various types of self-gratification that only politicians can appreciate. That means that the United States is engaged is fighting multiple wars against make-believe enemies while the country's infrastructure rots and a host of officially certified grievance groups control the public space.

It sure doesn't look like Kansas anymore.

The fact that opinion polls in Europe suggest that many Europeans would rather have Vladimir Putin than their own hopelessly corrupt leaders is suggestive. One can buy a whole range of favorable t-shirts featuring Vladimir Putin on Ebay , also suggesting that most Americans find the official Russophobia narrative both mysterious and faintly amusing. They may not really be into the expressed desire of the huddled masses in D.C. to go to war to bring true U.S. style democracy to the un-enlightened.

One also must wonder if the Democrats are reading the tea leaves correctly. If they think that a slogan like "Honest Joe Biden will keep us safe from Moscow" will be a winner in 2020 they might again be missing the bigger picture. Since the focus on Trump's decidedly erratic behavior will inevitably die down after the impeachment trial is completed, the Democrats will have to come up with something compelling if they really want to win the presidency and it sure won't be the largely fictionalized Russian threat.

Nevertheless, someone should tell Congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to shut up as he is becoming an international embarrassment. His "closing arguments" speeches last week were respectively two-and-a-half hours and ninety minutes long and were inevitably praised by the mainstream media as "magisterial," "powerful," and "impressive." The Washington Post 's resident Zionist extremist Jennifer Rubin labeled it "a grand slam" while legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it "dazzling." Gail Collins of the New York Times dubbed it "a great job" and added that Schiff is now "a rock star." Daily Beast enthused that the remarks "will go down in history " and progressive activist Ryan Knight called it "a closing statement for the ages." Hollywood was also on board with actress Debra Messing tweeting "I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country."

Actually, a better adjective would have been "scary" and not merely due to its elaboration of the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Trump, much of which was undeniably true even if not necessarily impeachable. It was scary because it was a warmongers speech, full of allusions to Russia, to Moscow's "interference" in 2016, and to the ridiculous proposition that if Trump were to be defeated in 2020 he might not concede and Russia could even intervene militarily in the United States in support of its puppet.

Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here."

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke."

Over at Antiwar Daniel Lazare explains how the Wednesday speech was "a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to [Democratic Party] dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they'll be driven from the fold."

The orthodoxy that Lazare was writing about includes the established Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer narrative that Russia invaded "poor innocent Ukraine" in 2014, that it interfered in the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that it is currently trying to smear Joe Biden. One might add to that the growing consensus that Russia can and will interfere again in 2020 to help Trump. Absent from the narrative is the part how the U.S. intervened in Ukraine first to remove its government and the fact that there is something very unsavory about Joe Biden's son taking a high-paying sinecure board position from a notably corrupt Ukrainian oligarch while his father was Vice President and allegedly directing U.S. assistance to a Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible.

The compulsion on the part of the Democrats to bring down Trump to avoid having to deal with their own failings has brought about a shift in their established foreign policy, placing the neocons and their friends back in charge. For Schiff, who has enthusiastically supported every failed American military effort since 9/11, today's Russia is the Soviet Union reborn, and don't you forget it pardner! Newsweek is meanwhile reporting that the U.S. military is reading the tea leaves and is gearing up to fight the Russians. Per Schiff, Trump must be stopped as he is part of a grand Russian conspiracy to overthrow everything the United States stands for. If the Kremlin is not stopped now, it's first major step, per Schiff, will be to "remake the map of Europe by dint of military force."

Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.


Chain Man , 10 hours ago link

If the USA doesn't have a bogey man to be afraid of, the USA might worry more and to insist on fixing the problems within the Nation.

So many of our politicians are guilty of allowing un constitutional on going act like the removal of Due Process of law for some people and the on going bailout of Global Markets with the US Dollar. The Patriot act and FISA Courts should have been gone.

J Frank Parnell , 11 hours ago link

I never saw the problem with Russians. They practice the same religion as I do and are mostly the same color...

Sid Finch , 10 hours ago link

Agreed. He seems as about as close as a leader can get to genuinely liking his country and people. It seems the ones here only give a **** about carbon, Central and South Americans, and cutting off my kids genitalia.

Archeofuturist , 11 hours ago link

Well let see.... Who has a historical beef with Russia and controls both parties. I wonder?

globalintelhub , 11 hours ago link

It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. When Trump wins in a landslide in 2020, they will claim it's because the Russians 'fixed' the election, and the Democratic party will break into pieces arguing about how they failed and what they did wrong. See www.splittingpennies.com

Alice-the-dog , 11 hours ago link

Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves.

John Hansen , 10 hours ago link

Don't leave out Israel, they aren't the American peoples friend either.

motiveunclear , 13 hours ago link

There used to be this thing we don't hear used much anymore called "diplomacy" and another useful thing in international politics called "tact".

https://skulltripper.com/2020/01/18/statesmanship/

44magnum , 12 hours ago link

What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets

toady , 13 hours ago link

McCarthyism II. Will the US be able put down a second "red scare"? Tune in next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

sillycat , 13 hours ago link

lots of words and no answer to the title question. Giraldi does not see the deep ideological problems: Russia is not trying to diversify into a PoC country, they do not worship gays and may be the only white people nation with sustaining birth rate. The US will go to war there is no way to let this continue.

hispanicLoser , 13 hours ago link

The level of Russia hate coming out of the dems is so much greater than that coming out of repubs that one can safely ignore this retarded article.

Jeffersonian Liberal , 12 hours ago link

True. But their hatred is pretended hatred. It is a form of projection.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Its our own fault.

The smart ppl are doing a lousy job of informing the dumb ones about accepted policy like "America Always Needs An Enemy". Smart ones understand that, and see the bigger game because of it.

We fight the dumb ones who believe Russian boogeyman crap, instead of helping them understand they are being misled on who the enemy really is. The dumb ones then fight back and further entrench that brainwashing.

vasilievich , 13 hours ago link

I'm trying to imagine the Russian Army marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. But first, across the Atlantic Ocean.

ombon , 13 hours ago link

It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Coming Soon... Why the Gullibles Will Believe Anything

south40_dreams , 14 hours ago link

....and the many thieves are gulping at the money spigot.....time to shut that sucker OFF

whatisthat , 14 hours ago link

I would observe there is evidence the corrupt establishment has done more damage to the US than any other country could ever imagine...

Chain Man , 15 hours ago link

The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian. How dare we expect enforcement of the Laws on the books against them. They want to be deemed Royalty with all the Elitist Rights.

The old rally call about Russia was always Communist Russia but, they don't do that anymore? Why ? They love their Communist China wage slaves. The Centrist love Communist labor in the name of profits . Human rights be damned it's all about the Global Elitist to them now.

[Feb 16, 2020] An Illegal Assassination and the Lawless President by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Trump administration's legal justification for the Soleimani assassination is as preposterous as you would expect it to be:

The White House delivered its legal justification for the January airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, arguing that President Donald Trump was authorized to take the action under the Constitution and 2002 legislation authorizing the Iraq war.

The administration is no longer pretending that the assassination had anything to do with stopping an "imminent" attack. They no longer claim that this is why the assassination was ordered. That by itself is a remarkable admission of the illegality of the strike. If there was no "imminent" attack, the U.S. was taking aggressive action against a high-ranking official from another country. There is no plausible case to be made that this was an act of self-defense. Not only did the president lack the authority to do this on his own, but it would have been illegal under international law even if he had received approval from Congress before doing it. The administration spent weeks hiding behind the "imminent" attack lie because without it there was no justification for what they did.

Abandoning the "imminent" attack claim also means that the administration is trying to lower the bar for carrying out future strikes against Iran and its proxies. Ryan Goodman points this out in his analysis of the administration's statements:

The absence of an imminent threat is relevant not only to the legal and policy basis for the strike on Jan. 2. It is also relevant for potential future military action. The administration's position appears to boil down to an assertion that it can use military force against Iran without going to Congress even if responding to a threat from Iran that is not urgent or otherwise imminent.

In short, Trump and his officials want to make it easier for them to commit acts of war against both Iran and Iraqi militias.

Trying to distort the 2002 Iraq war AUMF to cover the assassination of an Iranian official just because he happened to be in Iraq at the time is ridiculous. Congress passed the disgraceful 2002 AUMF to give George W. Bush approval to attack and overthrow the Iraqi government. That did not and does not give later presidents carte blanche to use force in Iraq in perpetuity whenever they feel like it. The fact that they are resorting to such an obviously absurd argument shows that they know they don't have a leg to stand on. The Soleimani strike was illegal and unconstitutional, and there is not really any question about it. The administration's own justification condemns them.

The president's lawlessness in matters of war underscores why it is necessary for Congress to reassert its proper constitutional role. The Senate passed S.J.Res. 68, the Tim Kaine-sponsored war powers resolution, by a vote of 55-45 to make clear that the president does not have authorization for any further military action against Iran:

In a bipartisan rebuke of President Trump on Thursday, a Senate majority voted 55 to 45 to block the president from taking further military action against Iran -- unless first authorized by Congress. Eight GOP senators joined every Democrat to protest the president's decision to kill a top Iranian commander without complying with the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

The president has already said that he will veto the resolution, just as he vetoed the antiwar Yemen resolution last year. He is proving once again beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no respect for the Constitution or Congress' role in matters of war.


Begemot 16 hours ago

[Trump] is proving once again beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no respect for the Constitution or Congress' role in matters of war.

Indeed he is. But when was the last President the US had who truly respected either one?

kouroi 12 hours ago
What is the role of the Supreme Court in this and why nobody is taking that route, given that the US has signed the UN Charter, to get a judicial review and sanction of president's actions?
SueLynns Jem an hour ago
I've been hearing this all my life. It ain't going to happen. The Constitution is broken, and can't be fixed

[Feb 16, 2020] Understanding the Ukraine Story by Joe Lauria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Versions of this article first appeared on ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

The impeachment hearings and trial of Donald Trump were filled with talk of Russian aggression against Ukraine and threats to the United States. But what would it be like if we switched the roles of Russia and the U.S.?

Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

T he United States has "invaded" Canada to support the breakaway Maritime provinces that are resisting a Moscow-engineered violent coup d'etat against the democratically elected government in Ottawa.

The U.S. move is to protect separatists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia after Washington annexed Prince Edwards Island in a quickly arranged referendum .

The Islanders voted over 90 percent in favor of joining the United States following the Russian-backed coup. Moscow has condemned the referendum as illega l.

Hard-liners in the U.S. want Washington to annex all three Maritime provinces, whose fighters are defying the coup in Ottawa after Moscow installed an unelected prime minister.

Russian-backed Canadian federal troops have launched so-called "anti-terrorist" operations in the breakaway region to crush the rebellion, shelling residential areas and killing hundreds of civilians.

The violent coup.

The Canadian army are joined by Russian-supported neofascist battalions that played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Canadian government. In Halifax, the extremists have burned alive at least 40 pro-U.S. civilians who had taken refugee in a trade union building.

Proof that Russia was behind the overthrow of the elected Canadian prime minister is contained in a leaked conversation between Georgiy Yevgenevich Borisenko, foreign ministry chief of Moscow's North America department, and Alexander Darchiev, the Russian ambassador to Canada.

According to a transcript of the leaked conversation, Borisenko discussed who the new Canadian leaders should be six weeks before the coup took place.

Russia moved to launch the coup when Canada decided to take a loan package from the IMF that had fewer strings attached than a loan from Russia.

Russia's Beijing ally was reluctant to back the coup. But this seemed of little concern to Borisenko who is heard on the tape saying, "Fuck China."

Minister handing out cookies in the square.

Weeks before the coup Borisenko was filmed visiting protestors who had camped out in Parliament Square in Ottawa demanding the ouster of the prime minister. Borisenko is seen giving out cakes to the demonstrators.

The foreign ministers of Russian-allied Belarus and Cuba also marched with the protestors through the streets of Ottawa against the government. Russian media has portrayed the unconstitutional change of government an act of "democracy." Russian senators have met in public with extreme right-wing Canadian coup leaders, praising their rebellion.

Borisenko said in a speech that Russia had spent $5 billion over the past decade to "bring democracy" to Canada.

Senator meeting far-right coup leaders.

The money was spent on training "civil society." The use of non-governmental organizations to overthrow foreign governments that stand in the way of Russia's economic and geo-strategic interests is well documented, especially in a 1991 Washington Post column, "Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups ."

The United States has thus moved to ban Russian NGOs from operating in the country.

The coup took place as protestors violently clashed with police, breaking through barricades and killing a number of officers. Snipers fired on the police and the crowd from a nearby building in Parliament Square in which the Russian embassy had set up offices just a few floors above, according to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Son Gets Job After Coup

Russian lawmakers compared President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler for allegedly sending U.S. troops into the breakaway provinces and for annexing Prince Edward Island in an act of "American aggression." The Maritimes have had long ties to the U.S. dating back to the American Revolution.

Russia says it has intelligence proving that U.S. tanks have crossed the Maine border into New Brunswick, but have failed to make the evidence public. They have revealed no satellite imagery. Russian news media only reports American-backed rebels fighting in the Maritimes, not American troops.

Washington denies it has invaded but says some American volunteers have entered the Canadian province to join the fight.

Russia's puppet prime minister now in charge in Ottawa has only offered as proof six American passports of U.S. soldiers found in New Brunswick.

Son gets job on energy company board after his father's government backs violent coup.

The Maritime Canadian rebels have secured anti-aircraft weapons enabling them to shoot down a number of Royal Canadian Air Force transport planes.

A Malaysian airlines passenger jet was also shot down over Nova Scotia killing all on board. Russia has accused President Obama of being behind the incident, charging that the U.S. provided the anti-aircraft weapon.

Moscow has refused to release any intelligence to support its claim, other than statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Canada's economy is near collapse and is dependent on infusions of Russian aid. This comes despite a former Russian foreign ministry official being installed as Canada's finance minister, only receiving Canadian citizenship on her first day on the job.

Despite installing a Russian to run Canada's economy, President Putin told the U.N. General Assembly that Russia had "few economic interests" in the country. But Russian agribusiness companies have already taken stakes in Albertan wheat fields. And Ilya Medvedev, son of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, as well as a Lavrov family friend joined the board of Canada's largest oil company just weeks after the coup.

Russia's ultimate aim, beginning with the imposition of sanctions on the U.S., appears to be a color revolution in Washington to overthrow Obama and install a Russian-friendly American president.

This is clear from numerous statements by Russian officials and academics. A former Russian national security advisor whom Putin consults on foreign policy said the United States should be broken into three countries.

He has also written that Canada is the stepping stone to the United States and that if the U.S. loses Canada it will fail to control North America.

Versions of this article first appeared on The Duran and Consortium News in 2016.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


mary floyd , February 15, 2020 at 13:20

The most important takeaway in this article for me was that the US should be broken into three separate entities!
That would work well for most Americans. All in all, this is a great piece, Mr. Lauria!

Dao Gen , February 15, 2020 at 02:28

Joe, you are The Truth. The only thing you left out, no doubt for reasons of space and time, was the immortal statement made by a leading member of the Russian Duma, who said during a stirring and well-received speech that, “Canada is our crucial first line of defense against the US. If Canada weren’t there to stop the Americans, we’d have to fight them right here on our own doorstep.”

Herman , February 14, 2020 at 18:52

A very creative way of making the point. Still do not understand the depth of what often appears to be heart felt hate for Russia by very powerful and smart people. Remember reading a comment by Phil Girardi early in the Trump tour when he remarked at the depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community. He wrote he was surprised and had, I think, been part of that community.

Eddie S , February 15, 2020 at 14:51

RE: “…depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community”.
While I have no ‘special knowledge’ of the so-called ‘intelligence community’, there’s a few reasons for this that come to-mind:
— Job preservation. The most obvious. The US wouldn’t need ~80% of those spooks if there
weren’t big scary Russians/Chinese/Iranians/N.Koreans constantly plotting against the
peaceful, benevolent US.

— Spooks believe in what is mainly a distractionary ploy by US oligarchs/plutocrats. These
wealthy interests don’t want to lose some of their wealth to social reforms, so they constantly
financially support scare-mongering, which some spooks unquestioningly accept.

— The profession tends to attract some of the more paranoid elements in our society, so
they’re inclined that way by nature/personality.

robert e williamson jr , February 14, 2020 at 17:51

Well one thing for sure we would not be seeing a female anchor on CNN bemoaning the fact the because of the coronavirus many popular kids toys might not be available here in the U.S. for the up coming holidays (?).

Yes it did happen, hell I couldn’t make that up.

DARYL , February 14, 2020 at 15:45

…or better yet, substitute Central America for Ukraine, and Panama(canal) for Crimea, then you have the makings of an even more salient parallel.

Realist , February 14, 2020 at 15:42

The difference is that under your scenario the world would be a smoking heap of radioactive ashes already as the exceptional nation, unlike the ever cautious Russians, would have immediately made bombastic threats and then launched military attacks to protect its “security interests.” (Warring to “protect” security interests has replaced invasion and occupation to save souls.) Things would have escalated from there to its predestined thermonuclear climax, as they will in the real world if Uncle Sam doesn’t get a grip on his uncontrolled aggression, demanding whatever he wants whenever he wants it at the point of a gun. The world seems to be circling the drain whether or not Washington is allowed to micromanage the affairs of Russia, China, Iran and every last duchy, principality and people’s republic in addition to its own monumental mess it calls domestic affairs. We’ve only got two political parties in this madhouse and they are both equally bent on destroying civilisation if they can’t rule it all, which seems to be the only point they agree on. Each party thinks it preferable to allow an obscenely rich oligarch (what else should we call Trump or Bloomberg?) from the other side to rule rather than a “communist” like Bernie Sanders or a “naive peacenik” like Tulsi Gabbard to be elected president. If the space aliens land tomorrow and start recruiting colonists to populate newly terraformed planets in other solar systems, sign me up. Yeah, it’s become that absurd down here.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , February 14, 2020 at 15:22

Simply imperial rot and corruption of power on all sides.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have an exclusive on those qualities.

Mark Thomason , February 14, 2020 at 12:37

This is a useful approach. It needs added to it the language and culture element: as if the part that wants out of the Moscow coup shares our own language and culture, while the rest of Canada does not, and the rest of Canada had gone on a spree to suppress that language and culture. It is hard to find a parallel in Canada to those facts, but it is what happened in Ukraine.

It is important to understanding to put oneself in the shoes of the other guys. It was once called walking a mile in the other guy’s moccasins, and given a Native wisdom attribution.

David G Horsman , February 14, 2020 at 12:01

I do this exercise mentally fairly often. This is the first time I saw it done in print. I would like to do an automated process.

[Feb 14, 2020] Is Apartheid the Inevitable Outcome of Zionism? by Henry Siegman

Highly recommended!
Actually any supremacist ideology produces something like an apartheid regime for other nationalities.
The current situation looks like a dead end with little chances of reconciliation, especially after recent killing of protesters by Israel army/snipers. But in general, it is iether a two state solution of equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in the same state. The elements of theocratic state should be eliminated and right wing parties outlawed as neofascist parties which threatens democracy.
Notable quotes:
"... The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel. ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The threat of a new war with Iran that might have replicated what has been the worst disaster in the history of America's international misadventures -- George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq based on fabricated lies -- sucked the air out of all other international diplomatic activity, not least of what used to be called the Middle East peace process.

Yet the failure of the peace process has not been the consequence of recent mindless and destructive actions by Donald Trump and of the clownish shenanigans of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was charged with helping Israeli hardliners in nailing down permanently the Palestinian occupation. For all the damage they caused (mainly to Palestinians), prospects for a two-state solution actually ended during President Barack Obama's administration, despite Secretary of State John Kerry's energetic efforts to renew the stalled negotiations. They were not resumed because Obama, like his predecessors, failed to take the tough measures that were necessary to overcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's determination to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state, notwithstanding his pledge in his Bar-Ilan speech of 2009 to implement the agreements of the Oslo accords.

Yes, Obama and Kerry did warn that Israel's continued occupation might lead to an Israeli apartheid regime. But knowing how deeply the accusation of an incipient Israeli apartheid could anger right-wingers in Israel and in the U.S., they repeatedly followed that warning with the assurance that "America will always have Israel's back." It was the sequence of this two-part statement that convinced Netanyahu that AIPAC had succeeded in getting American presidents to protect Israel's impunity. Had Obama and Kerry reversed that sequence, first noting that the U.S. had always had Israel's back, and then warning that Israel is now on the verge of trading its democracy for apartheid, the warning might have had quite different implications for Israel's government.

The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel.

For the Palestinians, territory is the most critical of the final status issues. The current internationally recognized borders that separate Israel and the Occupied Territories reduced the territory originally assigned to Palestinians in the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 from roughly half of Palestine to 22 percent. Israel, which was assigned originally roughly the other half of Palestine, now has 78 percent, not including Palestinian territory Israel has confiscated for its illegal settlements.

No present or prospective Palestinian leadership will accept any further reduction of territory from their promised state. Given the territory they already lost in 1947, and again in 1949, and given Israel's refusal to accept the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, is it really reasonable to expect Palestinians to give up any further territory? Where else other than the West Bank could Palestine refugees return to?

The one-state solution that is preferred by many Israelis is essentially a continuation of the present de facto apartheid. It is not the one-state alternative any Palestinian would accept. Repeated polling has shown that a majority of Jewish Israelis are unprepared to grant equal rights to Palestinians in a one-state arrangement. This opposition is unsurprising, for the inclusion in Israel's body politic of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, for Israel's non-Jewish citizens would then outnumber its Jewish ones, and may already do so. Of course, Israel could contrive a non-voting status for the West Bank's Palestinians, something many Jewish Israelis and political parties actually advocate, but that would not deceive anyone. It would mean the formal end of Israel's democracy.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I have long maintained that if Israel were compelled to choose between one state that grants full equality to Palestinians now under occupation and two states that conform substantially to existing agreements and international law, and no other options were available to it, the majority of Israelis would opt for two states. Why? Because as noted above, the overwhelming majority of Israelis oppose any arrangement that might produce a Palestinian majority with the same rights Israeli Jewish citizens enjoy. Of course, Israel has never been compelled to make such a choice, nor will they be compelled to do so by the international community.

However, they could be compelled to do so by the Palestinians, but only if Palestinians were finally to expel their current leadership and choose a more honest and courageous one. That new leadership would have to shut down the Palestinian Authority, which its present leaders allowed Israel to portray as an arrangement that places Palestinians on the path to statehood, of course in some undefined future. Israel has deliberately perpetuated that myth to conceal its real intention to keep the current occupation unchanged. The new Palestinian leadership would have to declare that since Israel has denied them their own state and established a one-state reality, Palestinians will no longer deny that reality. Consequently, the national struggle will now be for full citizenship in the one state that Israel has forced them into. I have argued for the past two decades that the one-state option is far more likely to open a path to a two-state solution, however counter intuitive that may seem to be. Palestinians rejected it categorically from the outset, but younger Palestinians have come around to accepting it -- even preferring it to the two-state model.

Unlike the struggle for a two-state solution, a goal that has so easily been manipulated by Israel to mean whatever serves their real goal of preventing such an outcome -- and also so easily allowed international actors to pretend they have not given up their efforts to achieve that outcome, an anti-apartheid struggle does not lend itself to such deceptions. South Africa has taught the world too well what apartheid looks like, as well as how the international community could deal with it. Of course, South Africa has also shown how long and bloody a struggle against apartheid can be, and the terrible price paid by the victims of such a regime. But Palestinians already live in such a regime, and have for long been paying a terrible price for their subjugation.

Yet deeper and more troubling questions are raised by the choices that now face Israel, including whether the original idea of the Zionist movement of a state that is both Jewish and democratic is not deeply oxymoronic, a question that not only Israelis but Jews outside of Israel must address. That question is underscored by the challenges to India's democracy posed by its prime minister's decision to turn his country into a Hindu nation. It is a question that did not escape some of the founders of the Zionist movement, who argued that Zionism should define the state as Jewish only in its ethnic and secular cultural dimensions. But that this is not how Jewish identity is treated in Israel is undeniable.

Imagine if Israel's laws defining national identity and citizenship, as recently reformulated by Israel's Knesset, were adopted by the U.S. Congress or by other Western democratic countries, and if Christianity in its "cultural dimensions" were declared to be their national identity, with citizenship also granted by conversion to the dominant religion, as is now the case in Israel, where arrangements for Jewish religious conversions are part of the Prime Minister's office.

Is this not what America's founders, and the waves of immigrants, including European Jews, sought to escape from? And how would Jews react today to legislation in the U.S. Congress that would explicitly seek to maintain the majority status of Christians in the U.S.? Are Jews to take pride in a Jewish state that adopts citizenship requirements that mirror those advocated by white Christian supremacists? These supremacists have already proclaimed jubilantly that Israel's policies vindicate the ones they have long been advocating.

It is true, of course, that for some Jews, aware of the history of anti-Semitism that has spanned the ages, and especially the Holocaust, Zionism's contradictions with democratic principles are an unpleasant but inescapable dilemma they can live with. As a survivor of the Holocaust, I can understand that. But I also understand that the likely consequences of these contradictions are not benign, and can yield their own terrible outcomes, particularly when they lead to the dalliances by the prime minister of a Jewish state with right-wing racist and xenophobic heads of state and of political parties that have fascist and anti-Semitic parentage.

Legislation proposed in the U.S. Congress and by Trump, and recently celebrated by his son-in-law Kushner in a New York Times op-ed, proposing that criticism of Zionism be outlawed as antisemitism , would be laughable, were it not so clearly -- and outrageously -- intended to deny freedom of speech on this subject. Yet laughable it is, for its first target would have to be Jews -- not liberal left-wingers but the most Orthodox Jews, known as Haredim, in Israel and in America.

At the very inception of the Zionist movement 150 years ago, not only the Haredim but the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jewry everywhere was opposed to Zionism, which it considered to be a Jewish heresy, not only because the Zionists were mostly secularists, but because of an oath taken by Jewish leaders after the destruction of the Second Temple following their exile from Palestine, that Jews would not reestablish a Jewish kingdom except following the messianic era. Zionism was also bitterly opposed by much of the world's Jewish Reform movement, many of whose leaders insisted that Jewishness is a religion, not a political identity.

Much of Orthodox Jewry did not end its opposition to Zionism until after the war of 1967, but many if not most Haredis continue to oppose Zionism as heresy. Most of its members refuse to serve in Israel's military, to celebrate Israel's Independence Day, sing its national anthem, and do not allow prayers in their synagogues for the wellbeing of Israel's political leaders. Trump, Kushner, and the U.S. Congress would have to arrest them as anti-Semites.

I have no doubt that Trump's rage at the Jewish chairmen of the two Congressional committees that led the procedures for his impeachment will sooner or later explode in anti-Semitic expletives. The only reason it has not done so yet is because of Trump's fear of jeopardizing Evangelical support and Sheldon Adelson's mega bucks. After all, Trump already told us that the neo-Nazi rioters in Charlottesville declaiming "Jews will not replace us" included "very fine people." Netanyahu never criticized Trump's statement, for he too does not want to jeopardize certain relationships, namely the "very fine people" he has embraced -- leaders in Hungary, Poland, Austria, Italy, Brazil, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

If Trump's son-in-law is searching for anti-Semites, he should have been told they are far closer at hand than in America's schools, for they are ensconced in the White House. They are also to be found in Jerusalem where they are being accorded honors by Netanyahu. The anti-Semitic dog whistling contained in Trump's attacks on the two Jewish congressmen were not misunderstood by his hardcore supporters -- who now include the entire leadership of the Republican party -- who Trump needs to take him to victory in the coming presidential elections, or to keep him in the White House were he to lose those elections.

If apartheid is coming (or has come) out of Zion, it should not shock that what may come out of Washington is a repeat by Trump's Republican shock troops of what occurred in Berlin in 1933, when the Bundestag was taken over by the Nazi party and ended Germany's democracy.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Feb 08, 2020] Is Iraq About To Switch From US to Russia

Highly recommended!
Feb 08, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 8, 2020 8:56 pm

NSC Russia expert freshly appointed Andrew Peek, who was walked out like Vindman, with him only freshly appointed after Fiona Hill and the Tim Morrioson resigned.

There is a big problems with "experts" in NSC -- often they represent interests of the particular agency, or a think tank, not that of the country.

Look at former NSC staffer Fiona Hill. She can be called "threat inflation" specialist.

NSC tries to usurp the role of the State Department and overly militarize the USA foreign policy, while having much lower class specialists. It is a kind of CIA backdoor into defining the USA foreign policy.

I would advocate creating "shadow NSC" by the party who is in opposition, so that it can somehow provide countervailing opinions. But with both parties being now war parties, this is no that effective.

Cutting NSC staff to the bones, so that such second rate personalities like Fiona Hill and Vindman are automatically excluded might also help a little bit.

The size above a dozen or two is probably excessive, as like any bureaucracy, it will try to control the President, not so much help him/her.
( https://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20160908/105276/HHRG-114-FA00-Transcript-20160908.pdf ):

One common explanation is that the NSC mission creep results from the NSC staff growing too large and the easy solution is to limit the size of the staff. I am sympathetic to that feeling because we don't want it to
be too large and we don't want it to be usurping things that the State Department or the Agency should do.

[Feb 07, 2020] How They Sold the Iraq War by Jeffrey St. Clair

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon. ..."
"... This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception." ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted. ..."
"... When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. ..."
"... Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war." ..."
"... The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. ..."
"... Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don't need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair's plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student's website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister's bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair's speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don't explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

The Bush claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war as a product and, just like a new pair of Nikes, it required a roll-out campaign to soften up the consumers. The same techniques (and often the same PR gurus) that have been used to hawk cigarettes, SUVs and nuclear waste dumps were deployed to retail the Iraq war. To peddle the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and company recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs at the Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. If the intelligence didn't fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.

Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat. She wasn't even a politician. She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as "the queen of Madison Avenue." On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben's Rice and another for Head and Shoulder's dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell's words, "the branding of U.S. foreign policy." She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

"Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time," said Beers. "All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world." Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It's a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of "freedom" to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: "This war is about peace."

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Over at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria "Torie" Clarke as his director of public affairs. Clarke knew the ropes inside the Beltway. Before becoming Rumsfeld's mouthpiece, she had commanded one of the world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill and Knowlton's D.C. office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig, Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington's top private PR specialists and lobbyists to develop a marketing plan for the Pentagon's forthcoming terror wars. The group was filled with heavy-hitters and was strikingly bipartisan in composition. She called it the Rumsfeld Group and it included PR executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich Lowry, and Republican political consultant Rich Galen.

The brain trust also boasted top Democratic fixer Tommy Boggs, brother of NPR's Cokie Roberts and son of the late Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on how to frame the war on terror, he was also working feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 2002 alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis PR firm $20.2 million to protect its interests in Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/11 hijackers, the royal family needed all the well-placed help it could buy. They seem to have gotten their money's worth. Boggs' felicitous influence-peddling may help to explain why the references to Saudi funding of al-Qaeda were dropped from the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

According to the trade publication PR Week, the Rumsfeld Group sent "messaging advice" to the Pentagon. The group told Clarke and Rumsfeld that in order to get the American public to buy into the war on terrorism, they needed to suggest a link to nation states, not just nebulous groups such as al-Qaeda. In other words, there needed to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, some distant place to drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion (already embedded in Rumsfeld's mind) of playing up the notion of so-called rogue states as the real masters of terrorism. Thus was born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an "axis" at all, since two of the states, Iran and Iraq, hated each other, and neither had anything at all to do with the third, North Korea.

Tens of millions in federal money were poured into private public relations and media firms working to craft and broadcast the Bush dictat that Saddam had to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones. Many of these PR executives and image consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner sanctum. Indeed, they were veterans, like Cheney and Powell, of the previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was more spin than combat .

At the top of the list was John Rendon, head of the D.C. firm, the Rendon Group. Rendon is one of Washington's heaviest hitters, a Beltway fixer who never let political affiliation stand in the way of an assignment. Rendon served as a media consultant for Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, as well as Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted to go to war, he offered his services at a price. During Desert Storm, Rendon pulled in $100,000 a month from the Kuwaiti royal family. He followed this up with a $23 million contract from the CIA to produce anti-Saddam propaganda in the region.

As part of this CIA project, Rendon created and named the Iraqi National Congress and tapped his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the shady financier, to head the organization.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public relations for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Rendon was also deeply involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive war on Iraq, though both Rendon and the Pentagon refuse to disclose the details of the group's work there.

But it's not hard to detect the manipulative hand of Rendon behind many of the Iraq war's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by U.S. troops and Chalabi associates) and videotape of jubilant Iraqis waving American flags as the Third Infantry rolled by them. Rendon had pulled off the same stunt in the first Gulf War, handing out American flags to Kuwaitis and herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. "Where do you think they got those American flags?" clucked Rendon in 1991. "That was my assignment."

The Rendon Group may also have had played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle of the Bush White House preferred the intelligence coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA.

So Rendon and his circle represented a new kind of off-the-shelf PSYOPs , the privatization of official propaganda. "I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician," said Rendon. "I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager."

What exactly, is perception management? The Pentagon defines it this way: "actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning." In other words, lying about the intentions of the U.S. government. In a rare display of public frankness, the Pentagon actually let slip its plan (developed by Rendon) to establish a high-level den inside the Department Defense for perception management. They called it the Office of Strategic Influence and among its many missions was to plant false stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media into outbursts of pious outrage like an official government memo bragging about how the media are manipulated for political objectives. So the New York Times and Washington Post threw indignant fits about the Office of Strategic Influence; the Pentagon shut down the operation, and the press gloated with satisfaction on its victory. Yet, Rumsfeld told the Pentagon press corps that while he was killing the office, the same devious work would continue. "You can have the corpse," said Rumsfeld. "You can have the name. But I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done. And I have."

At a diplomatic level, despite the hired guns and the planted stories, this image war was lost. It failed to convince even America's most fervent allies and dependent client states that Iraq posed much of a threat. It failed to win the blessing of the U.N. and even NATO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the day, the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, and a cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so, the citizens of the nations that cast their lot with the U.S.A. overwhelmingly opposed the war.

Domestically, it was a different story. A population traumatized by terror threats and shattered economy became easy prey for the saturation bombing of the Bush message that Iraq was a terrorist state linked to al-Qaeda that was only minutes away from launching attacks on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the closest Saddam came to possessing a nuke was a rusting gas centrifuge buried for 13 years in the garden of Mahdi Obeidi, a retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn't have any functional chemical or biological weapons. In fact, it didn't even possess any SCUD missiles, despite erroneous reports fed by Pentagon PR flacks alleging that it had fired SCUDs into Kuwait.

This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception."

During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted.

What the Pentagon sought was a new kind of living room war, where instead of photos of mangled soldiers and dead Iraqi kids, they could control the images Americans viewed and to a large extent the content of the stories. By embedding reporters inside selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel dependent on them for their own safety. It worked, naturally. One reporter for a national network trembled on camera that the U.S. Army functioned as "our protectors." The late David Bloom of NBC confessed on the air that he was willing to do "anything and everything they can ask of us."

When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. Of course, nearly every detail of her heroic adventure proved to be as fictive and maudlin as any made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news for more than a week, served its purpose: to distract attention from a stalled campaign that was beginning to look at lot riskier than the American public had been hoodwinked into believing.

The Lynch story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon operation called Combat Camera, the Army network of photographers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25 video clips a day to the media. The editors at Combat Camera carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon's montage of the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster bombs, dead children and U.S. soldiers, napalm strikes and disgruntled troops.

"A lot of our imagery will have a big impact on world opinion," predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat Camera in Iraq. She was right. But as the hot war turned into an even hotter occupation, the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation supremo Paul Bremer about installing democratic institutions such as a free press, moved to tighten its monopoly on the flow images out of Iraq. First, it tried to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel. Then the Pentagon intimated that it would like to see all foreign TV news crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned the hysteria about the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction as sedulously as did the Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the Post's pro-war op-eds outnumbered the anti-war columns by a 3-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war."

The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent as President Ronald Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad. Rumsfeld conveyed the bold message than an Iraq defeat would be viewed as a "strategic setback for the United States." This sleazy alliance was sealed with a handshake caught on videotape. When CNN reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld in the spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped, "Where'd you get that? Iraqi television?"

The current crop of Iraq hawks also saw Saddam much differently then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie, sometime colleague of the New York Times' Judy Miller, who persists in peddling the ludicrous conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

How times have changed! In 1987, Mylroie felt downright cuddly toward Saddam. She wrote an article for the New Republic titled "Back Iraq: Time for a U.S. Tilt in the Mideast," arguing that the U.S. should publicly embrace Saddam's secular regime as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other than Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation's most bellicose Islamophobe. "The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote Mylroie and Pipes. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."

In the rollout for the war, Mylroie seemed to be everywhere hawking the invasion of Iraq. She would often appear on two or three different networks in the same day. How did the reporter manage this feat? She had help in the form of Eleana Benador, the media placement guru who runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru, Benador parlayed her skills as a linguist into a lucrative career as media relations whiz for the Washington foreign policy elite. She also oversees the Middle East Forum, a fanatically pro-Zionist white paper mill. Her clients include some of the nation's most fervid hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Al Haig, Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, and Judy Miller. During the Iraq war, Benador's assignment was to embed this squadron of pro-war zealots into the national media, on talk shows, and op-ed pages.

Benador not only got them the gigs, she also crafted the theme and made sure they all stayed on message. "There are some things, you just have to state them in a different way, in a slightly different way," said Benador. "If not, people get scared." Scared of intentions of their own government.

It could have been different. All of the holes in the Bush administration's gossamer case for war were right there for the mainstream press to expose. Instead, the U.S. press, just like the oil companies, sought to commercialize the Iraq war and profit from the invasions. They didn't want to deal with uncomfortable facts or present voices of dissent.

Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. The network's executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings. In fact, during its run Donahue's show attracted more viewers than any other program on the network. The real reason for the pre-emptive strike on Donahue was spelled out in an internal memo from anxious executives at NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered "a difficult face for NBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

The memo warned that Donahue's show risked tarring MSNBC as an unpatriotic network, "a home for liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos at MSNBC gave Donahue the boot and hoisted the battle flag.

It's war that sells.

There's a helluva caveat, of course. Once you buy it, the merchants of war accept no returns.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

[Feb 03, 2020] Amazon.com Customer reviews White House Warriors How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War

Highly recommended!
This book sheds some light into the story of how Administrative assistants to Present became independent heavily influenced by CIA body controlling the USA foreign policy and to a large extent controlling the President. Recent revolt of NSC (Aka Ukrainegate) shows that the servant became the master
The books contains some interesting information about forming NSC by Truman --- the father of the US National Security State. And bureaucratic turf war the preceded it. It wwas actually Eisenhower who created forma position of a "special assistant to the president for national security affairs"
The author also cover a little bit disastrous decision to launch a "surge" (ironically by the female chickenhawk Meghan O'Sullivan), -- which attests neocon nature of current NSC and level of indoctrination of staffers in "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine quite clearly. That's why a faction of NSC launched a coup d'état against Trump in t he form of Ukrainegate and probably was instrumental in Russiagate as well.
Notable quotes:
"... Starting in the 1960s, the NSC dethroned the State Department in providing analysis, intelligence, and even some diplomacy to the diplomat in chief. In the years after September 11th, the staff also began to take greater responsibility, especially for planning, from the military and the rest of the Pentagon. Both departments have struggled and often failed to reclaim lost ground and influence in Washington. ..."
"... Yet war is a hard thing to try to manage from the Executive Office Building. Thousands of miles from the frontlines and far from harm, the NSC make recommendations based on what they come to know from intelligence reports, news sources, phone calls, video-teleconferences, and visits to the front. Even with advice based only on this limited and limiting view, the NSC staff has transformed how the United States fights its wars. ..."
"... Although presidents bear the ultimate responsibilities for these decisions, the NSC staff played an essential, and increasing, role in the thinking behind each bold move. In conflict after conflict, a more powerful NSC staff has fundamentally altered the American way of war. It is now far less informed by the perspective of the military and the view from the frontlines. It is less patient for progress and more dependent on the clocks in the Executive Office Building and Washington than those in theater. It is far more combative, less able to accept defeat, and more willing to risk a change of course. ..."
"... The NSC common law's kept the peace in Washington for years after Iran-Contra. The restrictions against outright advocacy and outsized operational responsibilities were accepted by those at the White House as well as in the agencies during Republican and Democratic administrations. Yet as many in Washington believed the world grew more interconnected and the national security stakes increased, especially after September 11th, a more powerful NSC has given staffers the opportunity to bend, and occasionally break, the common laws, as they have been expected to and allowed to take on more responsibilities for developing strategies and new r ideas from those in the bureaucracy and military. ..."
"... ...Meanwhile, others, including the anonymous author of the infamous September 2018 New York Times opinion piece, believe government officials who comprise a "steady state" amid Trump's chaotic presidency are "unsung heroes" resisting his worst instincts and overreaches. 13 Thus, it is no surprise that more and more Americans are concerned: a 2018 poll found that 74 percent of Americans feel a group of officials arc able to control government policy without accountability. ..."
"... it is no wonder some Americans have taken to assuming the worst of their public servants. ..."
"... Each member of the NSC staff needs to remember that their growing, unaccountable power has helped give evidence to the worries about a deep state. Although no one in Washington gives up influence voluntarily, the staff, even its warriors, need to remember it is not just what they fight for but whether a fight is necessary at all. ..."
"... ... Too many in Washington, including at the Executive Office Building, have forgotten that public service is a privilege that bestows on them great responsibility. Although the NSC has long justified its actions in the name of national security, the means with which its members have pursued that objective have made for a more aggressive American way of war, a more fractious Washington, and more conspiracies about government. ..."
"... The question is for what and for whom they will fight in the years and wars ahead. ..."
Feb 03, 2020 | www.amazon.com

The men and women walking the hushed corridors of the Executive Office Building do not look like warriors. Most are middle-aged professionals with penchants for dark business suits and prestigious graduate degrees, who have spent their lives serving their country in windowless offices, on far-off battle-fields, or at embassies abroad. Before arriving at the NSC, many joined the military or the nation's diplomatic corps, some dedicated themselves to teaching and writing about national security, and others spent their days working for the types of politicians who become presidents. By the time they joined the staff, each had shown the pluck -- and the good fortune -- required to end up staffing a president.

When each NSC staffer first walks up the steps to the Executive Office Building, he or she joins an institution like no other in government. Compared to the Pentagon and other bureaucracies, the staff is small, hierarchically flat with only a few titles like directors and senior directors reporting to the national security advisor and his or her deputies. Compared to all those at the agencies, even most cabinet secretaries, the staff are also given unparalleled access to the president and the discussions about the biggest decisions in national security.

Yet despite their access, the NSC staff was created as a political, legal, and bureaucratic afterthought. The National Security Council was established both
to better coordinate foreign policy after World War II and as part of a deal to create what became known as the Defense Department. Since the army and navy only agreed to be unified under a single department and a civilian cabinet secretary if each still had a seat at the table where decisions about war were expected to be made, establishing the National Security Council was critical to ensuring passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The law, as well as its amendments two years later, unified the armed forces while also establishing the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the CIA.

... ... ...

Fans of television's the West Wing would be forgiven for expecting that once in the Oval Office, all a staffer needs to do to change policy is to deliver a well-timed whisper in the president's car or a rousing speech in his company. It is not that such dramatic moments never occur, but real change in government requires not just speaking up but the grinding policy work required to have something new to say.

A staffer, alone or with NSC and agency colleagues, must develop an idea until feasible and defend it from opposition driven by personal pique, bureaucratic jealousy, or substantive disagreement, and often all three.

Granted none of these fights are over particularly new ideas, as few proposals in war are truly novel. If anything, the staffs history is a reminder of how little new there is under the guise of national security. Alter all, escalations, ultimatums, and counterinsurgency are only innovative in the context of the latest conflicts. The NSC staff is usually proposing old ideas, some as old as war itself like a surge of troops, to new circumstances and a critical moment.

Yet even an old idea can have real power in the right hands at the right time, so it is worth considering how much more influence the NSC brings to its fights today.

... ... ...

A larger staff can do even more thanks to technology. With the establishment of the Situation Room in 1961 and its subsequent upgrades, as well as the widespread adoption of email in the 1980s, the classified email system during the 2000s, and desktop video teleconferencing systems in the 2010s, White House technology upgrades have been justified because the president deserves the latest and the fastest. These same advances give each member of the staff global reach, including to war zones half a world away, from the safety of the Executive Office Building.

The NSC has also grown more powerful along with the presidency it serves. The White House, even in the hands of an inexperienced and disorganized president like Trump, drives the government's agenda, the news media's coverage, and the American public's attention. The NSC staff can, if skilled enough, leverage the office's influence for their own ideas and purposes. Presidents have also explicitly empowered the staff in big ways -- like putting them in the middle of the policymaking process -- and small -- like granting them ranks that put them on the same level as other agency officials.

Recent staffers have also had the president's ear nearly every day, and sometimes more often, while secretaries of state and defense rarely have that much face time in the Oval Office. Each has a department with tens of thousands (and in the Pentagon's case millions) of employees to manage. Most significantly, both also answer not just to the president but to Congress, which has oversight authority for their departments and an expectation for regular updates. There are few more consequential power differences between the NSC and the departments than to whom each must answer.

Even more, the NSC staff get to work and fight in anonymity. Members of Congress, journalists, and historians are usually too busy keeping track of the National Security Council principals to focus on the guys and gals behind the national security advisors, who are themselves behind the president. Few in Washington, and fewer still across the country, know the names of the staff advising the president let alone what they arc saying in their memos and moments with him.

Today, there arc too many unnamed NSC staffers for anyone's good, including their own. Even with the recent congressional limit on policy staffers, the NSC is too big to be thoroughly managed or effective. National security advisors and their deputies are so busy during their days that it is hard to keep up with all their own emails, calls, and reading, let alone ensure each member of the staff is doing their own work or doing it well. The common law and a de tacto honor system has also struggled to keep staff in check as they try to handle every issue from war to women's rights and every to-do list item from drafting talking points to doing secret diplomacy.

Although many factors contribute to the NSC's success, history suggests they do best with the right-size job. The answer to better national security policy and process is not a bigger staff but smaller writs. The NSC should focus on fewer issues, and then only on the smaller stuff, like what the president needs for calls and meetings, and the big, what some call grand strategic, questions about the nation's interests, ambitions, and capacities that should be asked and answered before any major decision.

... ... ...

Along the way, the staff has taken on greater responsibilities from agencies like the departments of state and defense as each has grown more bureaucratic and sclerotic. Starting in the 1960s, the NSC dethroned the State Department in providing analysis, intelligence, and even some diplomacy to the diplomat in chief. In the years after September 11th, the staff also began to take greater responsibility, especially for planning, from the military and the rest of the Pentagon. Both departments have struggled and often failed to reclaim lost ground and influence in Washington.

As a result, today the NSC has, regretfully, become the strategic engine of the government's national security policymaking. The staff, along with the national security advisor, determine which issues -- large and small -- require attention, develop the plans for most of them, and try to manage day-to-day the implementation of each strategy. That is too sweeping a remit for a couple hundred unaccountable staffers sitting at the Executive Office Building thousands of miles from war zones and foreign capitals. Such immense responsibility also docs not make the best use of talent in government, leaving the military and the nation's diplomats fighting with the White House over policies while trying to execute plans they have less and less ownership over.

... ... ...

Although protocol still requires members of the NSC to sit on the backbench in National Security Council meetings, the staff s voice and advice can carry as much weight as those of the principals sitting at the table, just as the staff has taken on more of each department's responsibilities, the NSC arc expected to be advisors to the president, even on military strategy. With that charge, the staff has taken to spending more time and effort developing their own policy ideas -- and fighting for them.

Yet war is a hard thing to try to manage from the Executive Office Building. Thousands of miles from the frontlines and far from harm, the NSC make recommendations based on what they come to know from intelligence reports, news sources, phone calls, video-teleconferences, and visits to the front. Even with advice based only on this limited and limiting view, the NSC staff has transformed how the United States fights its wars.

The American way of war, developed over decades of thinking and fighting, informs how and why the nation goes to battle. Over the course of American history and, most relevantly, since the end of World War II, the US military and other national security professionals have developed, often through great turmoil, strategic preferences and habits, like deploying the latest technology possible instead of the largest number of troops. Despite the tremendous planning that goes into these most serious of undertakings, each new conflict tests the prevailing way of war and often finds it wanting.

Even knowing how dangerous it is to relight the last war, it is still not easy to find the right course for a new one. Government in general and national security specifically are risk-averse enterprises where it is often simpler to rely on standard operating procedures and stay on a chosen course, regardless of whether progress is slow and the sense of drift is severe. Even then, many in the military, who often react to even the mildest of suggestions and inquiries as unnecessary or even dangerous micromanagement, defend the prevailing approach with its defining doctrine and syndrome.

As Machiavelli recommended long ago, there is a need for hard questions in government and war in particular. He wrote that a leader "ought to be a great askcr, and a patient hearer of the truth." 7 From the Executive Office Building, the NSC staff, who are more distanced from the action as well as the fog of war, have tried to fill this role for a busy and often distracted president. They are, however, not nearly as patient as Machiavelli recommended: they have proven more willing, indeed too willing at times, to ask about what is working and what is not.

Warfighters are not alone in being frustrated by questions: everyone from architects to zookeepers believes they know how best to do their job and that with a bit more time, they will get it right. Without any of the responsibility for the doing, the NSC staff not only asks hard questions but, by avoiding implementation bias, is willing to admit, often long before those in the field, that the current plan is failing. A more technologically advanced NSC, with the ability to reach deep into the chain of command and war zones for updates, has also given the staff the intelligence to back up its impatience.

Most times in history, the NSC staff has correctly predicted that time is running against a chosen strategy. Halperin. and others on the Nixon NSC, were accurate in their assessments of Vietnam. Dur and his Reagan NSC colleagues were right to worry that diplomacy was moving too slowly in Lebanon. Haass and Vershbow were correct when they were concerned with how windows of opportunity for action were shrinking in the Gulf and Balkans respectively, just as O'Sullivan was right that things needed to change relatively soon in Iraq.

Yet an impatient NSC staff has a worse track record giving the president answers to what should come next. The NSC staff naturally have opinions and ideas about what can be done when events and war feel out of control, but ideas about what can be done when events and war feel out of control, but the very distance and disengagement that allow' the NSC to be so effective at measuring progress make its ideas less grounded in operational realities and more clouded by the fog of Washington. The NSC, often stridently, wants to do something more, to "go big when wc can," as one recent staffer encouraged his president, to fix a failing policy or win a w r ar, but that is not a strategy, nor does that ambition make the staff the best equipped to figure out the next steps."

With their proposals for a new plan, deployment, or initiative, the staff has made more bad recommendations than good. The Diem coup and the Beirut mission are two examples, and particularly tragic ones at that, of NSC staff recommendations gone awry. The Iraq surge was certainly a courageous decision, but by committing so many troops to that country, the manpower w r as not available for a war in Afghanistan that was falling off track. Even the more successful NSC recommendations for changes in US strategy in the Gulf War and in Bosnia did not end up exactly as planned, in part because even good ideas in war rarely do.

Although presidents bear the ultimate responsibilities for these decisions, the NSC staff played an essential, and increasing, role in the thinking behind each bold move. In conflict after conflict, a more powerful NSC staff has fundamentally altered the American way of war. It is now far less informed by the perspective of the military and the view from the frontlines. It is less patient for progress and more dependent on the clocks in the Executive Office Building and Washington than those in theater. It is far more combative, less able to accept defeat, and more willing to risk a change of course.

And it is characterized by more frequent and counterproductive friction between the civilian and military leaders.

... ... ...

Through it all, as the NSC's voice has grown louder in the nation's war rooms, the staff has transformed how Washington works, and more often does not work. The NSC's fights to change course have had another casualty: the ugly collapse of the common law' that has governed Washington policymaking for more than a generation. The result today is a government that trusts less, fights more, and decides much slower.

National security policy- and decision-making was never supposed to be a fair fight. Eliot Cohen, a civil-military scholar with high-level government experience, has called the give-and-take of the interagency process an "unequal" dialogue -- one in which presidents are entitled to not just make the ultimate decision but also to ask questions, often with the NSC's help, at any time and about any topic.* Everyone else, from the secretaries of state and defense in Washington dow r n to the commanders and ambassadors abroad, has to expect and tolerate such presidential interventions and then carry out his orders.

Even an unfair fight can have rules, however. The NSC common law's kept the peace in Washington for years after Iran-Contra. The restrictions against outright advocacy and outsized operational responsibilities were accepted by those at the White House as well as in the agencies during Republican and Democratic administrations. Yet as many in Washington believed the world grew more interconnected and the national security stakes increased, especially after September 11th, a more powerful NSC has given staffers the opportunity to bend, and occasionally break, the common laws, as they have been expected to and allowed to take on more responsibilities for developing strategies and new r ideas from those in the bureaucracy and military.

... ... ...

...Meanwhile, others, including the anonymous author of the infamous September 2018 New York Times opinion piece, believe government officials who comprise a "steady state" amid Trump's chaotic presidency are "unsung heroes" resisting his worst instincts and overreaches. 13 Thus, it is no surprise that more and more Americans are concerned: a 2018 poll found that 74 percent of Americans feel a group of officials arc able to control government policy without accountability.

In an era when Americans can see on reality television how their fish are caught, meals arc cooked, and businesses are financed, it is strange that few have ever heard the voice of an NSC staffer. The Executive Office Building is not the only building out of reach: most of the government taxpayers' fund is hard, and getting harder, to see. With bigger security blockades, longer waits on declassification, and more severe crackdowns on leaks, it is no wonder some Americans have taken to assuming the worst of their public servants.

The American people need to know the NSC's war stories if for no other reason than each makes clear that there is no organized deep state in Washington. If one existed, there would be little need for the NSC to fight so hard to coordinate the government's various players and parts. However, this history also makes plain that though the United States can overcome bad decisions and survive military disasters, a belief in a deep state is a threat to the NSC and so much more.

... ... ...

Each member of the NSC staff needs to remember that their growing, unaccountable power has helped give evidence to the worries about a deep state. Although no one in Washington gives up influence voluntarily, the staff, even its warriors, need to remember it is not just what they fight for but whether a fight is necessary at all. Shortcuts and squabbles may make sense when every second feels like it counts, but the best public servants do what is necessary for the president even as they protect, for years to come, the health of the institutions and the very democracy in which they serve. As hard as that can be to remember when the clock in the Oval Office is ticking, doing things the right way is even more important than the latest crises, war, or meeting with the president.

... ... ...

... Too many in Washington, including at the Executive Office Building, have forgotten that public service is a privilege that bestows on them great responsibility. Although the NSC has long justified its actions in the name of national security, the means with which its members have pursued that objective have made for a more aggressive American way of war, a more fractious Washington, and more conspiracies about government.

Centuries ago, Plato argued that civilians must hope for warriors who could be trusted to be both "gentle to their own and cruel to their enemies." At a time when many doubt government and those who serve in it, the NSC staff s history demonstrates just what White House warriors arc capable of. The question is for what and for whom they will fight in the years and wars ahead.

... ... ...

The legendary British double agent Kim Philby wrote: "just because a document is a document it has a glamour which tempts the reader to give it more weight than it deserves An hour of a serious discussion with a trustworthy informant is often more valuable than any number of original documents. Of course, it is best to have both."

Alexandra Jones , September 15, 2019

The Untold History of the NSC

A must-read for anyone interested in history or foreign policy. Gans pulls back the curtain on arguably the most powerful yet opaque body in foreign policy decision-making, the National Security Council. Each chapter recounts a different administration -- as told through the work of an NSC staffer. Through these beautifully-written portraits of largely unknown staffers, Gans reveals the chilling, outsized influence of this small, unelected institution on American war and peace. From this perspective, even the policy success stories seem more luck than skill -- leaving readers concerned about the NSC's continued unchecked power.

[Feb 02, 2020] The most interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story

Highly recommended!
Edited for clarity
Notable quotes:
"... Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment. ..."
"... In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated. ..."
Feb 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 2, 2020 10:40 pm

Far more interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story.

Potential whistleblower (actually CIA informant) was from NSC as were Fiona Hill, Alex Vindman and a couple of other major Ukrainegate players.

In this NSC coup d'état against the President or what ? About earlier role of NSC see

https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/01/secret-wars-forgotten-betrayals-global-tyranny-who-is-really-in-charge-of-the-u-s-military/

As for "evil republican senators", they would be viewed as evil by electorate if and only only if actual crimes of Trump regime like Douma false flag, Suleimani assassination (actually here Trump was set up By Bolton and Pompeo) and other were discussed.

Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment.

Both sides are afraid to discuss real issues, real Trump regime crimes.

Schiff proved to be patently inept in this whole story even taking into account limitations put by Kabuki theater on him, and in case of Trump acquittal *which is "highly probable" borrowing May government terminology in Skripals case :-) to resign would be a honest thing for him to do.

Assuming that he has some honestly left. Which is highly doubtful with statements like:

"The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there so we don't have to fight Russia here."

And

"More than 15,000 Ukrainians have died fighting Russian forces and their proxies. 15,000."

Actually it was the USA interference in Ukraine (aka Nulandgate) that killed 15K Ukrainians, mainly Donbas residents and badly trained recruits of the Ukrainian army sent to fight them, as well as volunteers of paramilitary "death squads" like Asov battalion financed by oligarch Igor Kolomyskiy

In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated.

[Jan 29, 2020] Campaign Promises and Ending Wars

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:

We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].

On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.

Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:

But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.

We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.

If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 24, 2020] Peter Hitchen to Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat: You're not in the ladies' lingerie trade now, sweetie

Highly recommended!
Kevin Smith: "Higgins is currently frantically trying to prop up the Douma narrative against a mountain of evidence disproving his conclusions. For those who’ve followed his story, it’s clear that Higgins is an intelligence asset, set up to take the fall when the currently collapsing narratives take hold in the mainstream.
Jan 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

"You didn't think that one through, did you, @eliothiggins sweetie? You're not in the ladies' lingerie trade now. This discussion is about truth, which endures, is not held together by elastic, and is not for sale." ~Peter Hitchens responding to Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat over the OPCW scandal on Twitter – 2 January 2020.

[Jan 24, 2020] Crimes of the century truth, perception and punishment

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I believe more people nowadays recognise that the devastating wars in Iraq and Libya and events in Syria were pushed by our governments and media. They can even accept, when you explain, that we've been assisting terrorists to unseat governments for years. But they seem hesitant of taking the next step and we need to encourage them on this path. ..."
"... This path leads to recognising the sheer evil in our midst and getting out of this mindset that criminal behavior and lying in governments and in our media is normal or should in any way be tolerated. Perhaps some people appreciate this already but don't want to address it out of concern to what they might find. Maybe some people dread the thought of a global conflict so ignore it. But we need to hammer home the consequences of simply doing nothing. ..."
"... I've been trying to think of an analogy to try to get this point across. I sometimes say to people, we wouldn't have released a serial killer like Harold Shipman from prison and appointed him Foreign Secretary. Therefore, why do we tolerate a long line of Foreign Secretaries complicit in laying waste to the world? Sadly, with this analogy most people usually look back at me blankly so I have been searching for one more complete and rooted in history which people can relate better to events today. ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Kevin Smith

"You didn't think that one through, did you, @eliothiggins sweetie? You're not in the ladies' lingerie trade now. This discussion is about truth, which endures, is not held together by elastic, and is not for sale."
Peter Hitchens responding to Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat over the OPCW scandal on Twitter – 2 January 2020.

Like many, I've been following the Douma scandal for some time and particularly since the OPCW whistleblowers and leaked emails blew the lid off the official narrative that Assad used chemical weapons there.

This issue is being discussed on one of my 'go to' accounts on Twitter – Peter Hitchens who has brought this to the attention of the mainstream .

For the past few weeks he's been debating the topic with Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, Scott Lucas and various Middle East based journalists who created and then pushed the false narrative.

In fact, it's not really a debate. Peter Hitchens is quite literally slaughtering these narrative managers – his logic and clear thinking – and wit exposing the numerous gaps in their story and their desperate deflections.

Hitchens position is not exactly the same as many of us here hold – that Douma was a clear false flag. What he is saying is the evidence points to there being no chemical attack by the Syrian government, the pretext used for the attack on Syria. He doesn't wish to speculate on matters which aren't conclusively proven, for example precisely on what did actually happen.

I respect that position in many ways and his refusal to comment on the dead civilians in the Douma images makes sense from a journalist in the mainstream. I think by having a position which is clear and unassailable enables him to easily brush off his online detractors and not allow them to deflect to other issues.

While I don't agree with everything he says, Hitchens has a calm and rational argument for all the issues he covers. This puts clear ground between him and his online opponents who often resort to childish abuse.

My 80-year old mum admires him too. She describes him as 'frightfully posh'. Perhaps someone who might have belonged in a previous age – but I'm glad we have him in this one.

Anyway, I think we can be sure that Hitchens will continue his important work within the remit he's chosen and others will investigate the unanswered questions which arise from the Douma incident.

Ultimately the question about the dead civilians in the images is simply too dreadful to ignore.

This is because if a chemical attack did not take place and Assad was not responsible it seems highly likely that the civilians including children were murdered to facilitate a fabrication.

And were our own intelligence agencies involved in a staged event, considering the refusal to even establish the basic facts in the days following?

And then, of course, the resulting air strikes nearly caused us to go to war with Russia, with all that would entail.

While these investigations continue, I think it's timely to see where these events fit into the way the general public think and perceive wrongdoing and to try to radically to change this.

I believe more people nowadays recognise that the devastating wars in Iraq and Libya and events in Syria were pushed by our governments and media. They can even accept, when you explain, that we've been assisting terrorists to unseat governments for years. But they seem hesitant of taking the next step and we need to encourage them on this path.

This path leads to recognising the sheer evil in our midst and getting out of this mindset that criminal behavior and lying in governments and in our media is normal or should in any way be tolerated. Perhaps some people appreciate this already but don't want to address it out of concern to what they might find. Maybe some people dread the thought of a global conflict so ignore it. But we need to hammer home the consequences of simply doing nothing.

I've been trying to think of an analogy to try to get this point across. I sometimes say to people, we wouldn't have released a serial killer like Harold Shipman from prison and appointed him Foreign Secretary. Therefore, why do we tolerate a long line of Foreign Secretaries complicit in laying waste to the world? Sadly, with this analogy most people usually look back at me blankly so I have been searching for one more complete and rooted in history which people can relate better to events today.

So, here follows an analogy of a character who lived in the 17th century. His traits, his crimes, the political climate and peoples misguided perceptions in response can be compared to recent events and one particular individual causing havoc in the world today.

Of course I refer to Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat.

Eliot ( 'suck my balls' ) Higgins and Titus Oates 1. Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat

Higgins probably doesn't need much of an introduction here. It seems he has no specific qualifications relevant to his role and a bit of a drop-out in terms of education.

Higgins has been quoted as saying :

Before the Arab spring I knew no more about weapons than the average Xbox owner. I had no knowledge beyond what I'd learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo."

But this didn't prevent him blogging about world events and then setting himself up and his site as investigator for several incidents most notably the shooting down of the MH17 passenger plane over Ukraine and allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria. It's now known that Bellingcat is funded by pro-war groups including the Atlantic Council

Higgins has been accused by chemical weapons experts, academics and independent journalists on the ground of fabricating evidence to reach a predetermined outcome decided on by his funders.

His rise to prominence was fast and apparently some media editors now refer their journalists to Bellingcat fabrications rather than allowing them to do any journalism themselves.

Higgins is currently frantically trying to prop up the Douma narrative against a mountain of evidence disproving his conclusions.

For those who've followed his story, it's clear that Higgins is an intelligence asset, set up to take the fall when the currently collapsing narratives take hold in the mainstream.

2. Titus Oates and the Popish Plot

Oates was a foul-mouthed charlatan , serial liar and master of deception who lived in the 17th century. His earlier life included being expelled from school and he was labelled a 'dunce' by people who knew him. He became a clergyman and later joined the Navy. His career was plagued by various sex scandals and charges of perjury.

In the 1670s during the time of Charles II, religious tensions threatened to spill over into civil war but the pragmatic King, by and large, kept a lid on it.

However, along with Dr Israel Tonge an anti-Catholic rector, Oates started writing conspiracy theories and inventing plots and later began writing a manuscript alleging of a plan to assassinate King Charles II and replace him with his openly Catholic brother.

When the fabrication started to gather momentum, the King had an audience with Oates and was unconvinced and was said to have found discrepancies in his story.

However, the tense political and religious climate at that time was ideal for conspiracy theories and scaremongering. The King's ministers took Oates at his word and over a dozen Catholics were executed for treason. This story created panic and paranoia lasting several years taking the nation to the brink of civil war.

Over time Oates lies were exposed and when the Catholic King James II came to the throne, he tried Oates with perjury and he was whipped and placed in the pillory.

After James II fled England during the so-called 'Glorious Revolution' King William and Queen Mary pardoned Oates and gave him a pension.

For me, this whole episode has many obvious parallels with Higgins, the long-running Russia and the anti-Semitism witch-hunts in the media and the false narratives over Iraq, Libya and Syria. Like those in power today, Oates had a knack for getting away with it. And I guess we can all relate this to Julian Assange – the victims or whistleblowers being punished and the perpetrators getting off.

I had wondered why James II, often ruthless and unforgiving had not executed Oates. But apparently the crime of perjury even then didn't carry the death sentence. The judge who convicted Oates was said to have tried his best to finish him off through the whipping, though he survived.

But perhaps even the King and judiciary in failing in this or not using other means at their disposal, couldn't comprehend the enormity of his crimes. Oates was after all a rather absurd character, open to ridicule.

Perhaps this is a bit similar to people today when discovering that Eliot Higgins is also a foul-mouthed fraud – but they can't reconcile this comical ex-lingerie employee as a menace to humanity.

3. Modern day

In the past few weeks I've read various older articles on Iraq and Syria. US troops shooting people for fun from a helicopter . The perpetrators are still free – the whistle-blowers who exposed that, and other events in prison or exile.

Last year we learned about a shocking massacre of Syrian children, unreported in the mainstream media . Mainstream journalists through their one-sided distortions of the conflict and silence, perpetuating the myth that the terrorists who carried out this mass murder are freedom fighters.

And as I've mentioned, we've seen firmer evidence of what many of us knew along – that Douma was a staged fabrication as a pretext for air-strikes and dangerously escalating the Syrian war. The likes of Eliot Higgins and others in the media, colluding in the cover-up of mass murder which likely facilitated this event. And for those honest journalists and experts who bring the truth of these staged events to us, smears will no doubt continue .

Higgins and others in the media who lie, misinform or remain silent are no better than those shooting civilians from helicopters or starting these wars in the first place. In fact, they have killed more and keep killing.

This modern-day Titus Oates, and others share a big responsibility for death and destruction in the Middle East and a dangerous new Cold War.

As I say, I think people are waking up to the distorted narratives and misdirections which have inflicted war on others. Now they need to take the next step and grasp the sheer enormity of the crimes and the risks of global conflict if we don't act.

So, how do we achieve this and get in a position of holding the criminals and war propagandists to account?

By confronting them directly and mercilessly. As Jeremy Corbyn should have done over the anti-Semitism hoax. Perhaps we should adopt some of the tactics they use against the truth-tellers and whistle-blowers. I don't mean by lies or smears. Maybe even ridiculing these people and their nonsense might have the effect of trivialising the crimes they have committed.

No, I think it is time for plainer, no-holds-barred language describing these people for the true evil they are – until the truth and label sticks.

We need to recognise more the seriousness of the crimes. This commentary from the usually measured Piers Robinson about the staged event in Douma reflects the true gravity of the situation in terms of the OPCW complicity .

4. The hijacking of OPCW

The cover-up of evidence that the Douma incident was staged is not merely misconduct. As the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of civilians, those in OPCW who have suppressed the evidence of staging are, unwittingly or otherwise, colluding with mass murder."

We need to now apply this strong language to all crimes committed, be it from the soldiers on the ground, the governments starting these wars or supplying terrorists or the media which promote mass murder through their lies, distortions and silence when presented with the true facts.

We need to go on the offensive and call out the criminals and spell out in no uncertain terms what we are dealing with. With the evidence and fact-based analogies or arguments we publish we should be using more commentary such as 'mass murderer', 'traitor' or 'terrorist propagandist'.

This is particularly important in light of events in recent days. The assassination of General Qasem Soleimani has been normalised in both mainstream and on social media. The people legitimising state-sponsored murder in offices thousands of miles away from Iran, woefully ignorant of the potential of this causing a chain of events which could visit our door soon.

Above all, we should specifically name and shame the individuals promoting war. This needs to be relentless. The official war narratives which have crumbled so far are ample evidence of wrongdoing on a vast scale. So, we can be confident in doing this with the truth firmly on our side.

Filed under: Douma "Chemical Attack" , historical perspectives , latest , Syria Tagged with: Bellingcat. Eliot Higgins , douma chemical attack , Glorious Revelution , Kevin Smith , OPCW , Peter Hitchens , Titus Oates can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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wardropper ,

No, I think it is time for plainer, no-holds-barred language describing these people for the true evil they are – until the truth and label sticks.
Yes indeed.
I was, however, reminded today of the huge mountain we yet have to climb before it can be normal again NOT to be corrupt and wicked. The scenario was a session of acrimony in a US Senate chamber, and according to the NYTimes, "Tensions grew so raw after midnight that Chief Justice Roberts cut in just before 1 a.m. to admonish the managers and the president's lawyers to "remember where they are" and return to "civil discourse." "
"Remembering where you are", when dealing with Titus Oates and other vulgar frauds is perhaps not entirely appropriate ?

wardropper ,

Apologies, I forgot to set the first sentence in quotes

Thom ,

Hitchens may be on the level on this particular issue but it is part of a wider deception where Hitchens poses as a friend to critical thinkers and then tells them they are helpless and/or can do nothing about it. If he really had journalistic integrity he wouldn't be taking a salary from the Mail on Sunday, a newspaper that relentlessly lied for the Tories at the last election, with the help of the itelligence agencies.

Koba ,

As good as Hitchens has done here he's still at heart a Trotskyist he lives a good split and a toothless display just like the Trotskyists he used to side with. His brother went from Trotskyist to soft neocon and peter went from Trotskyist to an ardent Christian Conservative in a veeeeeery short space of time. Plus there dad was deeeeep in with the establishment and his mum Jewish. So .

Richard Le Sarc ,

what?

Gall ,

Bellingcrap is just another scam like Dupes (Snopes) and Politi"facts". All of them are funded by the Atlantic Council and the CIA front National Endowment for "Democracy". Their cover as an "independent objective fact checking service" is about as transparent as Saran Wrap.

tonyopmoc ,

I really liked this when I read it this morning, before the grandkids came round, but I thought some of the comments a bit severe..

I mean this photo is of some 40 year old kid, who lives in Leicester, and his Mum/wife/sister or whatever works in the local Post Office .

I personally had never heard of Brown Noses, and I have never personnally succeeded in getting anything I wrote, posted above our below the line, since The Manchester Guardian moved from Manchester to London, and whilst I do love reading some of the posters' comments well look face it.

Even though Rhys probabaly doesn't like what this kid writes – Elliot is it? he is hardly going to come round with a chainsaw, to cut his head off is he? He probably never even thought of it.

He did say he is small fry, and he probably is still a virgin (been brainwashed – so he actually belives the model doll is better. What has he got to compare it to?)

So I can't blame any of them.

There are alternatives as well as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and all those Dating Websites, when almost everything you write gets deleted.

Just go down the local pub when there is a good band on. Even I can pull there, but I am better looking than both Rhys and Elliot

I Like Girls.

I am a man. It's Normal

Just keep fit dancing and smiling, and you will be O.K.

Tony

paul ,

The prime importance of these endless hoaxes, smears, lies, fabrications and official approved conspiracy theories, lies not so much in the events themselves as what it says about the nature of the people who rule over us and their courtiers and handmaidens in the MSM.

It would take a whole forest of trees merely to catalogue all their lies over the years, whether it's the Iraq Incubator Babies, the black Viagra fuelled rape gangs in Libya, the Syrian Gas Hoaxes, 9/11, Iraq's WMD, Iran's non existent nuclear weapons, Skripal, Russiagate, Ukrainegate, or the communist spy/ terrorist/ anti semitic smear campaign against Corbyn. And that is only the tip of a very large iceberg. You could go back further to Gladio, Operation Northwoods, Tonkin Gulf, the "Holocaust", Zinoviev Letter, Bayonetted Belgian Babies, Raped Belgian Nuns, Human Bodies Made Into Soap. The list is endless.

We have been lied to consistently for years, decades, and generations. And these lies have been peddled endlessly in the MSM, no matter how ludicrous and transparently false they are. In the absence of direct personal knowledge or very convincing evidence to the contrary, you just have to assume that everything we have ever been told, are being told, and will be told, and most of the accepted historical record, are simply false. Nothing, nothing at all, can ever be taken at face value.

And those who rule over us and who are responsible for these lies are psychopathic subhuman filth devoid of any moral values or any redeeming features whatsoever. They are a thousand times worse than the worst mass murderers or child killers who have ever been through our courts. The Moors Murderers, the Ted Bundys, the Jeffrey Dahmers, were seriously damaged individuals who killed a handful of victims. And they did their own dirty work. The Blairs, the Campbells, the Straws, the Bushes, the Cheneys, the Rumsfelds, the Allbrights, the Macrons, the Camerons, the Netanyahus, the Trumps, have the blood of millions on their hands. They and their wire pullers are responsible for the death, starvation and misery of tens and hundreds of millions.

So when Blair, or Johnson, or Trump or whoever is interviewed on television, you have to remember that individual is a thousand times worse than the Moors Murderers, and we would actually be that much better off if Brady or Hindley were ruling over us. They deserve no respect or deference or legitimacy. They plot the murders of millions and the starvation of tens of millions – and laugh and giggle as they do so. They should be simply recognised for what they awe – psychopathic subhuman filth.

austrian peter ,

I do agree with you Paul and of course all you say is true. One of the main problems is that these people have the power to build artificial constructs sufficient for the masses to believe and perpetuated through their bought and paid for MSM whose journalists are mere foot soldiers and wish only to get their pay checks. They have no reason to question the lies and distortions pedaled to them by TPTB – they merely repeat the false narrative:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" – Upton Sinclair

And we, the great 99%, have little power to change things except within our local network. We can shout all we like on social media but it changes nothing until the great crisis reoccurs and perhaps the masses will rise and demand a just and equitable system. Until that day perhaps this little video will provide an understanding:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/rStL7niR7gs?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Roberto ,

The business of the MSM throughout the ages has been to traumatise or at least just generally worry the public with headlines focused on fear, envy, anger, revenge, and hate. Include all five in your story and you're well on the way to a Pulitzer Prize, bestowed on the profession by one of the great muckrakers of all time. It's not incidental that there have been a disturbing number of winners that have turned out to be dissembling frauds. Add to this the fact that 'journalism' training apparently does not teach entrants to distinguish the difference between opinion and news, and the die is cast: propaganda as news.

Dungroanin ,

Here is what BellEndScat supporting Rusbridger is moaning about.

"For some years now – largely unreported – two chancery court judges have been dealing with literally hundreds of cases of phone hacking against MGN Ltd and News Group, the owners, respectively, of the Daily Mirror and the Sun (as well as the defunct News of the World).
The two publishers are, between them, forking out eye-watering sums to avoid any cases going to trial in open court. Because the newspaper industry lobbied so forcefully to scrap the second part of the Leveson inquiry, which had been due to shine a light on such matters, we can only surmise what is going on.

But there are clues. Mirror Group (now Reach) had by July 2018 set aside more than £70m to settle phone-hacking claims without risking any of them getting to court. The BBC reported last year that the Murdoch titles had paid out an astonishing £400m in damages and calculated that the total bill for the two companies could eventually reach £1bn."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/19/there-is-a-reason-why-royals-demonised-but-wont-read-all-about-it-prince-harry-meghan-markle

On the overall perfidious msm he quips:

"Because the newspaper industry lobbied so forcefully to scrap the second part of the Leveson inquiry, which had been due to shine a light on such matters, we can only surmise what is going on."

-- --

Completely ignoring that the Integrity Iniative infested Guardian ITSELF objected to the recommendation of Levesons thoroughly public Inquiry and opposition to a independent press regulator!

It would have been a building block and certainly stopped most of the continued press misbehaviour over the last 5 years.

Neither Fish nor Fowl Mr Rusbridger. More sinner that saint, more like.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Going to the heart of what Bellingcat, MI6 and CIA is Pompeo's: "We lie, we cheat, we steal." These evil filth are devoid of any moral code and have no respect whatsoever for the laws of God or Man. At which point, consider Moses' (how apt) Ten Commandments. There among them is: "Thou shalt not bear false witness". Think what you will of these Ten, but as a moral code, they were quite useful.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Would that all these scum could share the fate of their progenitor, Streicher-without the ' necktie party'. Life at hard labour would do the lot of them much good.

Brianeg ,

I looked at the Veterans Today link and it all sounds very plausible'

However in today's world nothing makes sense especially when the questions arise.

Is it possible to change the signal of an aircrafts transponder remotely. Can the target acquisition radar on the missile be spoofed remotely. Just why did the flight control officer sanction the take off of this plane in the middle of a war unless they were party to the whole thing.. Just what were the six Israeli F-35 jets doing flying close to the Iranian border?

Okay there is a lot of smoke but just where is the fire.

Just as interesting is that none of the twelve Iranian missiles was intercepted and there are rumours that the Iranians were able to take out of action American air defences.

I am sure that like with Douma when the majority of NATO missiles were intercepted by missiles that were decades old, you wonder what might happen when most of the middle east is covered by the S-300 and later versions.

This is a story that has got a long way to run and we might never hear the ending.

Dungroanin ,

Facts are inconvenient.
Many planes took off.
This one was delayed by the pilot 'to remove overloading'.
Reports of Cruise missiles heading in.

Mucho ,

For the best info on this, go to Brendon O' Connell's channel and watch 1 to 3 and number 22. You will get answers there.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYaLxbD7Rix3p1rdGY3IMjg?pbjreload=10

Also go to the Antedote and listen to Greg and Jeremy's latest offering.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMf1qGR8km1c8vg_dtpzzVQ

Dungroanin ,

It sounds a bit MAGA.

The thing about 'chips' is they could easily be identified by putting them in a black box and watching what they do using a chip which only does that!

The whole bs about it's THEM not US crap falls away. Just need some open source simple 'custodian' chip manufacturer to make that available. If it can be made a 'gate keeper' than we are all safe.

Mucho ,

"It sounds a bit MAGA. "
After this, I will never, ever read any of your comments ever again. Get lost!

Mucho ,

You talk so much crap. Please, keep it to yourself

Dungroanin ,

I ain't saying that is your opinion am I?

The bit I watched was him being gung-ho about getting back 'control of microprocessors' !!!

There is a big difference between designing chips and 'manufacturing' facilities'.

Have you never wondered why most actual building of small electrical component equipment takes place in Asia?

I don't care wherher you read my comments- i am free to post what I want on whatevet article and whoevers comment. And stick to facts.

Mucho ,

"The bit I watched ".
Honestly, I am so tired of people who comment on things they know nothing about. Everything you say is wrong, because you are speaking from a position of total ignorance, because you haven't watched the films.
Watch 1 to 3. Watch 22 and 23 ALL THE WAY THROUGH, not skimming. Then comment. Every inaccurate comment you make is covered in detail. Honestly it's no wonder we're so fucked.

From 2005 after one google search, time spent on this, 10 seconds:
"While Yona was developed in partnership with one